The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang will feature four former Badger Women’s Hockey players representing the USA Olympic Team.
Forwards Meghan Duggan, Brianna Decker and Hillary Knight, as well as goaltender Alex Rigsby, have all been named to the U.S. women’s national hockey team competing in South Korea.
In the 2010-11 season, all four played for the Badgers and helped secure Wisconsin’s fourth NCAA Women’s Hockey National Championship. Playing under Coach Mark Johnson, the future Olympians enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in the history of the NCAA.
They reached the 37-win mark in their final game, eclipsing the previous record for NCAA Women’s Hockey wins in a single season of 36 wins. To finish the year, the Badgers went on an absolute tear and won a ridiculous 27 games straight.
Along with their team accolades, all of these players have incredible personal resumes to boot.
Though she is only 25 and has no Olympic experience, Rigsby is the veteran net-minder on the roster. Of the three goalies selected for the Olympics, Rigsby is the oldest and the most accomplished. She is the all-time leader in saves (2,530) at UW and second in career shut-outs (23) and wins (83).
Decker is no slouch either. She was named to three All-American teams over her career and is tied for first all-time in short-handed goals (8) and is second all-time for career game-winning goals (25) at Wisconsin. Decker will be playing in her second Olympics this year.
Knight is the greatest scorer in the history of Wisconsin hockey. Her 143 career goals make her the all-time leader in goals for men and women at UW. This will be the third Olympics for the three-time All-American.
Duggan holds the Badger record in career points (238) and is second all-time in goals and assists. In the 2010-11 season Duggan was named the WCHA Player of the Year. This will be her third Olympics, following her two silver medal appearances for Team USA in 2014 and 2010. In 2014, Duggan was named the Team USA captain – a role which she still holds today.
The foursome were all members of the U.S. team that boycotted last year’s world championship tournament. The team held out of the tournament, taking a stand for equal pay for women athletes and increased investment for youth infrastructure for girls interested in the game.
“U.S. WNT will not play in 2017 World Championship due to stalled negotiations over fair wages and support from USA Hockey,” Duggan said on Twitter.
This came in conjunction with the U.S. women’s soccer team’s public filing of a complaint against U.S. Soccer over fair pay issues in 2016.
These Badger greats are poised to make huge impacts on and off the ice, hopefully leading the U.S. team to a gold medal – their second in history (1998). Hopefully, with the media attention surrounding the Winter Olympics, they will be able to use their platform to continue the fight for equality in sports.