Name: Megan Bozek
DOB: March 27, 1991
Hometown: Buffalo Grove, Ill.
College: University of Minnesota
Twitter?: Yes -- @meganebozek
Notable: Female Athlete of the Year for the Univ. of Minn. in 2011-12… fifth on the team in scoring and second among D in her freshman year at Minnesota, 2009-10… participated in five USA Hockey Player Development Camps, won gold with the U-18 team in 2009… Nominated for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2013, logging over 200 hours of community service in four years of college… Was one of only three D in the nation to average over one point per game in her junior year, 2011-12 (1.08 pts per game, third overall).
As the five-year-old shinny hockey recruit between the makeshift pipes for her older brothers, Danny and Stephen, it's unlikely that Megan Bozek had ever dreamed back then that she would be on the largest stage for women's hockey in the world 18 years later.
But soon, Bozek caught the bug that had infected her brothers. She played on boys' teams, honing her skills and her toughness, until 2007, when coach Greg Tam recruited her for his girls' team, Chicago Mission. She played her high school years out there, captaining them and winning a national championship in her final year.
She kept flying high at Minnesota, leading the team in power-play points (20) her freshman year, in plus-minus (+33) her sophomore year, and scoring multiple points in 12 games over her junior season. She also won back-to-back titles with the Gophers in 2012 and 2013 and amassed a career high and school defensive record in points her senior year, with 57, as a part of the undefeated Gophers team that won its second consecutive ring.
By the time she finished college, she had accumulated 47 goals and 99 assists and a +153 rating in 157 games.
Upon graduating from Minnesota, she moved to Boston to train full-time with the women's national team. All of her hard work paid off, as she was named to the team. Now, the aggressive, puck-moving defenseman is paired with college defensive partner Anne Schleper and on her way to Sochi to, she hopes, crown all of her achievements with a medal at the Olympics.
Name: Meghan Duggan
DOB: Sep. 3, 1987
Hometown: Danvers, Mass.
College: University of Wisconsin
Current Team: Boston Blades (CWHL)
Twitter?: Yes -- @mduggan10
Notable: Drafted eighth overall by the Boston Blades in the 2011 CWHL Draft… won the Patty Kazmaier Award her senior year for being the top women's college hockey player (2010-11)… recorded the longest individual points streak in Wisconsin women's hockey history with 22 games on Jan. 21, 2011 (broke the previous record of 20 by Meghan Hunter) … won one silver (2007) and three gold medals (2008, 2009, 2011) at the Women's World Championships with Team USA… Is one of five Mass.-born players on the squad.
Meghan Duggan's road to her second Olympics has come with its share of bumps and bruises -- literally.
In December 2011, she suffered a concussion that kept her off the ice for over six months. Then she developed complications from that concussion in November 2012, almost a full year later. Determined, she battled back to play in -- and win gold at -- the Women's World Championships in 2013.
Now healthy and focused, the Boston Blades forward, who had been the youngest player on the 2010 Olympic team in Vancouver, is expected to log big minutes and lead by example as captain of the 2014 squad, something she's no stranger to (she's served in alternate captain and captain spots at multiple international tournaments). She's the first U.S.-born active CWHLer and first Massachusetts-born player to serve as an American Olympic captain.
Duggan started skating with Danvers Youth Hockey as part of the Learn to Skate program at three years old, like most little sisters, following in her older brother Bryan's footsteps. She played all the way through bantams and then honed her skills at Cushing Academy, an elite prep school for girls' hockey -- in fact playing against a couple of her current teammates, including Kacey Bellamy and Hilary Knight, whom she said she "really didn't like" at the time, but in the years since, they've grown quite close, both at Wisconsin and on Team USA:
Duggan is also an accomplished college player, as noted by all of those awards and stats mentioned earlier. In 159 games played for Wisconsin, she became the all-time scoring leader with 108 goals and 130 assists for 238 points, also leading the school in plus-minus (+164). And if all of that isn't enough to get you to like her, toward the end of the video above, she says she loves singing to country music (and apparently she's not bad). Here's to hoping we can vouch for that once the Olympics are said and done.
Name: Julie Chu
DOB: March 13, 1982
Hometown: Bridgeport, Conn.
Current Team: Montreal Stars (CWHL)
Twitter?: Yes -- @juliechu13
Notable: First player to win two consecutive Clarkson Cups with two different teams… plays defense for Montreal… a graduate of Chaote Rosemary Hall (teammates Hilary Knight and Josephine Pucci are also grads)… oldest player on Team USA at 31… ranked fifth in the CWHL in points during her rookie season… was MVP of the Clarkson Cup in 2010, which she won with the Minnesota Whitecaps of the Western Women's Hockey League… 2007 Patty Kazmaier Award winner… was the all-time assists leader and points scorer in NCAA history with 284 points until Meghan Agosta snapped the record in 2011… was assistant women's hockey coach at Union College in Albany, and also (with Caroline Ouellette) helped the University of Minnesota-Duluth to a national championship in 2008.
Commitment, Honor, and Unity. Take the first letter of each word and you have "CHU" -- the last name of a family that swears by each of those values.
Raising an Olympian: Julie Chu | P&G Thank You, Mom | Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (via ProcterGamble)
A four-time All-American, Team USA veteran and graduate of Harvard, Julie Chu understands each of those values completely.
The forward accepted a fourth-line spot on a national team loaded with talent, knowing this may well be the final time she ever takes the ice for the United States. She said that as a 19-year-old in Salt Lake City in 2002, things were different. She knew she had her entire career ahead of her.
But now, as her career approaches twilight, it's gold or nothing, and if she has to play more of a supporting role, she will. That takes commitment, displays honor and definitely signifies unity with the greater goal of Team USA.
Chu started out as a figure skater and soccer player, but switched gears as soon as she saw her older brother, Richard, skate. The switch paid off -- she is the first Asian-American player to represent Team USA in the Olympics and a decorated college and international athlete, winning five gold and four silver medals at the Women's World Championships. She even deferred her acceptance to Harvard in order to participate at Salt Lake City, her first-ever Olympics.
A member of the Montreal Stars for the past three seasons, Chu has also won two Clarkson Cups with them in 2011and 2012 and remains the only CWHL player to win three Cups with two different teams. If the U.S. wins gold in Sochi, she could become a member of the (still unofficial, yet still elite) Triple Gold Club (Clarkson Cup, World Champs gold, Olympic gold), along with a number of her Stars teammates.
She also took part in the ESPN Magazine's October 2011 Body Issue, saying sports (along with her support system) helped her own her body:
Looking back at old soccer videos from second grade, I think, "Who is that next to those little kids?!" I was fortunate, though, because I was naïve and oblivious about my size... And the sports world gave me the confidence and self-awareness to be proud of what I look like. So I've always felt pretty good about my body.
Add "confidence and character" to that list of values, Julie.
Women's Hockey Roundup:
- The Gophers face off against No. 3 North Dakota tonight and tomorrow on the road. The Gophers are 40-6 all-time against the Sioux, but UND is on a high with a 3-0-1 record in its last four, sweeping St. Cloud State and winning and tying against Bemidji State. The Sioux are led by junior Josefine Jakobsen (26 pts) and senior Michelle Karvinen (21 pts), but Karvinen is currently out of the lineup, representing Finland in the Olympics. Puck drops at 7 p.m. CT.
- The University of Minnesota-Duluth and Bemidji State are meeting up this weekend. The Bulldogs can secure home ice in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs with a sweep of BSU.
- St. Cloud State plays Ohio State this weekend. The poor Huskies are tied for seventh place in the conference with Minnesota State, with only 12 points (4-21-3 overall, 3-17-2-1 WCHA).
- The CWHL Game of the Week for this Saturday, Feb. 1: Toronto Furies vs. Boston Blades. 7:30 p.m. start.
- Lisa-Marie Breton-Labreux, the CWHL's co-founder and a veteran on the Montreal Stars, logged her 100th career point Jan. 11. (Consider that these games are played every weekend, rather than a 2-3 per week timetable as the NHL does.)