Although every woman playing for Team USA could be called the hardest working woman in hockey, Massachusetts native, Meghan Duggan is the one who has set the tone for that grit as team captain. Her consistent production on ice and in the gym have given her an unmatched credibility with fellow players which has only helped to motivate the team and solidify their elite status in the world of hockey.
Meghan Duggan recalls learning to skate when she was just three years old, pushing stacked milk crates across the ice. Her eyes would wander to the other side of the rink where the older kids were skating in full hockey gear. Duggan watched, and dreamed of one day being able to play along side them.
On February 17, 1998, the day of the first Olympic women’s hockey gold medal game, Duggan’s parents let her skip school to watch the United States play Canada. Duggan’s memories of watching that game with her parents, and running around their house celebrating the U.S. win is an experience which fueled her hockey dreams for years to come.
Duggan would meet Team USA, and gold medal game goal scorer, Gretchen Ulion at her school. An 11-year-old Meghan, draped in Ulion’s U.S. jersey with the 1998 Olympic gold medal hanging from her neck, decided then and there that she too would one day play hockey at the Olympic Games.
Winning championships seems to be what Meghan Duggan does. She won three NCAA titles at the University of Wisconsin, along with winning the 2011 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the nation’s best women’s hockey player. Duggan has suited up for Team USA in eight World Championships, winning seven gold medals and one silver.
Duggan has played professional hockey in both the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the NWHL in the U.S. Playing for the Boston Blades of the CWHL, she helped the team win the leagues top prize – the Clarkson Cup – in 2013 and 2015.
Duggan joined the newly-formed NWHL in 2015, initially playing for the Buffalo Beuts. The following season Duggan jumped at the chance to play for another NWHL team, the Boston Pride, whose roster was filled with Duggan’s U.S. national teammates including Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker, Gigi Marvin and Kacey Bellamy.
Duggan made her first appearance at a USA Hockey development camp in 2003, while still in high school. In 2006, during her freshman season at the University of Wisconsin, Duggan ranked second on the team in points, scoring 26 goals and netting 26 assists.
The following year, Duggan appeared in her first World Championship with the U.S. National Team in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Duggan remembers telling herself as she first pulled on the red, white and blue jersey that she had finally made it, but that it was up to her to put in the work to stay on the team, and make it to her first Olympics in 2010.
In her senior season at the University of Wisconsin, Duggan set single season school records for assists (48), points (87) and plus/minus (+69). Records that still stand.
The intangible Duggan brings to every roster is her natural leadership ability. Serving as captain for the U.S. national team for the better part of the past four years, coaches and players recognize the benefits of the motivating influence Duggan brings to the ice, gym and locker room.
“It’s no secret to anyone that the U.S. women’s hockey team came up short in the last couple Olympics. But that’s behind us now. You know, Sochi was tough. It was three years ago. And where we’re at right now as a team, I couldn’t be more excited about. Couldn’t be prouder.” – Meghan Duggan
Duggan has been a fixture on the U.S. women’s Olympic team, making her debut in Vancouver in 2010 and again in Sochi in 2014. At both Olympics, the U.S. famously let gold slip away at the hands of the Canadians, a reality that has gone on to fuel one of the most contentious rivalries on international ice. Duggan served as the U.S. team captain in 2014.
Over 10 Olympic hockey games Duggan has scored five goals and one assist, in two silver-medal winning campaigns.
Outside the rink
When she’s not training, Duggan loves to take in a round of golf. She’s also been known to turn up as an honorary guest at Boston Red Sox games, having thrown out the first pitch at a game, not once, but twice!