Women's Ice Hockey Preview
The U.S. women’s ice hockey team has medaled at every Olympic Winter Games since the sport was introduced at the Nagano 1998 Olympic Winter Games, winning one gold (1998), three silvers (2002, 2010, 2014) and one bronze (2006).

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games mark the 20-year anniversary of the sport’s introduction at the Olympics and the gold-medal victory by the United States, setting the stage for a commemorative opportunity to honor the inaugural 1998 team and earn a storybook finish in PyeongChang.

Since falling to Canada, 3-2, in overtime and earning a silver medal at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the U.S. women’s national team has played its rival in seven international tournaments (three International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships and four Four Nations Cups), winning six of the seven titles and 11 of 14 games overall. Including the pair of exhibition games played in 2016 (part of the Winter Champions Series) and the 2017-18 season, the U.S. has won 12 of 22 games overall against its northern rival since Sochi.

In the lead-up to the 2018 Olympics, the U.S. met Canada eight times in games on The Time is Now Tour, presented by Toyota, and in a series of games held in Canada. The U.S. wrapped up its series against Canada on Dec. 17, finishing with a 3-0-2-3-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) record.

Six players on the 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Team roster have represented Team USA in every international competition since the Sochi Games, including Kacey Bellamy, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight, Emily Pfalzer and Alex Rigsby.

In Olympic competition, the U.S. has posted a 21-0-2-3-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) overall record. Against opponents qualified for the PyeongChang Games (Canada, Finland, Japan, Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia), the U.S. is 16-0-2-3-0 in past Olympic contests. Team USA is the only squad aside from Canada to have won an Olympic gold medal in women’s ice hockey.

The U.S. has been highly successful over the last few years, earning the No. 1 world ranking by the IIHF. Team USA will field another strong roster in PyeongChang, featuring a mix of veterans and collegiate players, as it has done for its past seven international competitions over the last three seasons.

Robb Stauber, who has been involved with the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team in varying capacities since 2010, will serve as head coach of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team. Stauber has served as head coach of both the 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Team and the U.S. team that claimed the gold medal at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan, this past spring. The Medina, Minnesota, native, who became the first goaltender ever to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey player in 1988, was an assistant coach for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team in Sochi, Russia.

Storylines

  • Ten players on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team are returning Olympians, including several members of the silver medal-winning squad in 2014. Among the group of 2014 returnees are Kacey Bellamy, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Gigi Marvin and Lee Stecklein. Of that group, six are two-time Olympic silver medalists, having also competed in 2010, including Bellamy, Duggan, Knight, Lamoureux-Davidson, Lamoureux-Morando and Marvin.

  • Team USA will feature a changing of the guard in goal at the Olympics for the first time since 2006. Alex Rigsby, who was in final consideration and the last goalie cut in 2014, has been an integral part of U.S. success in international competition since the last Olympics. Rigsby is joined by a pair of young, emerging goaltenders, including Nicole Hensley, who turned in a stand-out performance at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship, and Maddie Rooney, the team’s second-youngest player who helped the U.S. to its third-straight title at the 2017 Four Nations Cup.

  • Kendall Coyne (left wing), Brianna Decker (center) and Hilary Knight (right wing) have consistently played on a line at every event since the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and comprise one of the best lines in women’s hockey. The line accounted for 24 total points during the 2017-18 season.

  • Meghan Duggan (2011), Brianna Decker (2012), Amanda Kessel (2013) and Kendall Coyne (2016), have won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.

  • Twin sisters Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando have represented Team USA in various tournaments since 2006, including the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games. They look to help lead the U.S. to gold in 2018.

  • Hannah Brandt will make the trip to PyeongChang where she could have the opportunity to play opposite her adopted older sister, Marissa Brandt, who will skate for the host nation South Korea. Marissa, adopted from South Korea at four months old, grew up playing hockey alongside sister Hannah. It will be the first Olympics for both sisters, after Hannah was one of the final cuts to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team.

Athletes To Watch

Kendall Coyne
Coyne (Palos Heights, Illinois) plays on a line with Brianna Decker and Hilary Knight and is one of the more prominent offensive players on the team. Coyne led the team in points during the 2017-18 season and The Time is Now Tour with 10 (4-6), and led the way for the U.S. during the 2017 Four Nations Cup, having been recognized twice as U.S. Player of the Game during the tournament. She was honored with the 2016 Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey. Since graduating, Coyne has played for the Minnesota Whitecaps and worked for the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL). Her fiance is Michael Schofield, an offensive lineman for the Los Angeles Chargers (NFL). Prior to relocating to Tampa, Florida, where the U.S. women currently train in preparation for the Olympics, she lived in Denver and trained at facilities utilized by the Broncos, where Schofield played during the 2016-17 season. She is also involved with several charitable initiatives.

Brianna Decker
Decker (Dousman, Wisconsin) continues to be one of the offensive catalysts and elite players for Team USA and is recognized as one of the best all-around players in women’s ice hockey. She has earned MVP honors in back-to-back seasons in the National Women’s Hockey League (2015-2016, 2016-2017) and led the league in scoring last season, with 14 goals and 31 points in 17 games. She has earned numerous accolades with Team USA and during her collegiate playing days at the University of Wisconsin, including the USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year award in both 2015 and 2017, and the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award in 2012 as the best player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey. She is a 2014 Olympic silver medalist and five-time world champion (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017).

Meghan Duggan
Duggan (Danvers, Massachusetts) joined the U.S. women’s national team in 2007 and has emerged as a prominent leader and team captain for many events, including the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. She was named USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year in 2011, and was also recognized with the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the best player in collegiate women’s ice hockey that season. She is a two-time Olympic silver medalist (2010, 2014) and has helped the U.S. win seven gold medals at the IIHF Women’s World Championship (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017).

Amanda Kessel
Kessel (Madison, Wisconsin) missed significant time due to injury after the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and returned to play the final few months of her senior season (2015-16) at the University of Minnesota before turning professional and playing for the New York Riveters (NWHL). After more than two years away from Team USA, she returned to the ice for a pair of exhibition games against Canada in December 2016 and contributed to the gold medal-winning effort of Team USA at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship with six points in five games. In nine games during the 2017-18 season, Kessel recorded four points, including two goals. Her brother, Phil Kessel, plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL). In 2014, the two became the first brother-sister combo to compete for Team USA in Olympic ice hockey.

Hilary Knight
Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) has earned numerous accolades and was named MVP at both the 2015 and 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship. She is one of the most dynamic players in women’s ice hockey and has been a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team since she was 17 years old (2006). She is a two-time Olympic silver medalist (2010, 2014) and has won gold at seven IIHF Women’s World Championships (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017) and two silvers (2007, 2012). She has also participated in 11 Four Nations Cups, helping the U.S. to championships in six of those events (2008, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017). Knight was also a dominant player in the NCAA for the University of Wisconsin, where she garnered All-America honors and was twice named a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.

Emily Pfalzer
Pfalzer (Buffalo, New York), who joined the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team at the 2014 Four Nations Cup, has emerged as an elite defenseman and been on the roster for every international competition since that time for Team USA. At the 2017 Four Nations Cup, Pfalzer scored her first-ever hat trick as a member of the U.S. women’s national team in an 8-2 win over Finland in the opening game of the tournament. She was named U.S. Player of the Game and ultimately went on to finish tied for second on the team in total points with six. Her boyfriend is Mike Matheson of the NHL’s Florida Panthers, who was born in Canada. They met and began dating while attending Boston College and now they train and skate together during a portion of their off-season. Pfalzer is a three-time world champion, helping the U.S. win gold in 2015, 2016 and 2017), and also an Isobel Cup champion as a member of the 2016-17 Buffalo Beauts (NWHL).

Cayla Barnes
Barnes (Eastvale, California) joined the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team on Oct. 28, 2017, after playing just five games in her freshman campaign at Boston College. She made her season debut for the U.S. at the 2017 Four Nations Cup, making an immediate impact by scoring a goal in the tournament opener against Finland. Barnes is a three-time member of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team and is the only player to have won three consecutive gold medals at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship (2014, 2015 and 2016). She earned back-to-back Directorate Awards as the tournament’s best defenseman in 2016 and 2017. She has also competed as a member of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s Select Team at the Under-18 Series three times (2014, 2015 and 2016) and was on the Women’s National Team roster for a pair of games against Canada in Dec. 2016.

Hannah Brandt
Since making her debut with the U.S. Under-18 Women’s Select Team in 2010, Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minnesota) has proven to be an impact player during both her collegiate and international careers. In her four years at the University of Minnesota, Brandt helped the Gophers to three national titles (2013, 2015, 2016) and was named a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award four years in a row. Brandt has helped the U.S. Women’s National Team capture two IIHF Women’s World Championship titles, including its most recent at the 2017 event in Plymouth, Michigan. During the 2017-18 season, Hannah Brandt was recognized as U.S. Player of the Game for her standout, two-goal performance in the 2017 Four Nations Cup championship game against Canada. At the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, she could have the opportunity play opposite her adopted older sister, Marissa Brandt, who will skate for the host nation South Korea.

Qualification

The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament features teams from eight nations. The top five teams as determined by world ranking following the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship received automatic berths into the Olympic Games, including the U.S., which ranked first. As host, Korea also earns a direct berth, while the remaining two spots were determined in the three stages of the Olympic Qualification during the 2016-2017 season. Team USA is slotted in Group A, alongside Canada, Finland and Russia. Group B consists of teams from Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and Korea.

Click here to view the complete 2018 Olympic qualification procedures for ice hockey.

Selection

Twenty-four players make up the 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team roster. The group began a residency program in Wesley Chapel, Florida, where it was based in the lead-up to the Olympic Winter Games. The players trained in Wesley Chapel and played a series of exhibition games to help in an evaluation process of a final roster that was announced on Jan. 1, 2018.

Editor’s Note: This selection process overview is designed to provide general information only. The selection process is formally governed by selection procedures published by each National Governing Body.


Key Dates

Sept. 6

Residency program opens

Wesley Chapel, Florida

Oct. 25

The Time is Now Tour, presented by Toyota
USA vs. CAN

Boston

Nov. 5-12

Four Nations Cup

Wesley Chapel and Tampa, Florida

Dec. 3

The Time is Now Tour, presented by Toyota
USA vs. CAN

St. Paul, Minnesota

Dec. 15

The Time is Now Tour, presented by Toyota
USA vs. CAN

San Jose, California

Jan. 1 (TBD)

Olympic roster announcement

TBD