PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — The question was inevitable even though the answer is not yet known: Will the three-time Olympians on the 2018 USA women’s hockey team try to return for a fourth go-round?
Monique Lamoureux-Morando, who is married and wants to start a family, said she probably will take a year to evaluate how another Olympic run could fit into her life come time for Beijing 2022. But she is not closing the book on her Olympic career just yet.
“I think for all of us, we still have a love and passion for the game, which I think we still will [in four years],” she said a day after the Americans won gold, their first in two decades. “I think we’ll continue to try and play and be on the team, but I think right now, we’re just going to enjoy this win with our teammates. It’s a moment that is once in a lifetime. So I think we’re just going to cherish these next couple weeks and then kind of reevaluate down the road and see what we want to do.”
One factor in the decision is the players’ improved compensation as a result of their threatened strike last March and eventual new contract with USA Hockey that increased their wage from $6,000 only in Olympic years to a reported $70,000 annually with the chance to earn more than $100,000. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique’s twin, said the decision to return is no longer bogged down by financial strain.
“It’s a decision based on whether I have the passion and desire and skill set to continue to play and I think that’s what we all strive for when that all came about,” she said. “So to have that, I think it means the world to us that we can make that decision based on our love for the game and we don’t have to make a decision now based on financial means . . . I think we can make [the decision] in the right way now.”
As far as more strides the players want to see USA Hockey make in terms of future compensation, team captain Meghan Duggan, from Danvers, Mass., said she can’t say anything specifically, but that there is always room for improvement.
“Everyone in the world knows there’s still room for growth for women in sports and women in business or all walks of life,” she said.
After Hilary Knight made her way through the interview area following USA’s win on Thursday afternoon, she spotted Angela Ruggiero at the end of a hallway inside Gangneung Hockey Centre. Ruggiero, a four-time Olympian who won gold with the 1998 US team and who had also been a teammate and mentor of Knight’s, had just presented the 2018 team with their gold medals on the ice after beating Canada.
“Passing the torch never felt better!” Ruggiero tweeted Thursday night.
But when Knight saw her later, she took off running, in her skates and full gear, for another hug from Ruggiero.
“It’s an incredible moment to share that with a former player and someone that you’ve looked up to and aspired to be your whole life,” Knight said the day after winning gold.
Not thinking about Trump
At the news conference here on Friday, Duggan was asked if the team would accept an invitation from President Trump to visit the White House. Duggan said it has not even been discussed.
“That’s something that I don’t even think we’ve thought about yet,” she said. “We’re just so excited about last night’s win. It’s been a whirlwind, there’s a lot going on. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Right now, we’re just so focused on last night’s win, celebrating together, with each other, our families, and really excited to get home and celebrate with the rest of our country.”
Canadian player Jocelyne Larocque apologized for taking off her silver medal almost immediately after it was placed around her neck following Thursday’s shootout loss.
Larocque, a two-time Olympian, held onto the medal during the postgame ceremony. She issued a statement through Team Canada apologizing to the IOC, International Ice Hockey Federation, the Pyeongchang Olympic Organizing Committee, the Canadian Olympic Committee, Hockey Canada, and her teammates and fans. She said she meant no disrespect but her emotions took over.
‘‘Please understand this was a moment in time that I truly wish I could take back,’’ Larocque said. ‘‘I take seriously being a role model to young girls and representing our country. My actions did not demonstrate the values our team, myself and my family live and for that I am truly sorry.’’
Another title for Rooney
Goalie Maddie Rooney’s position on her Wikipedia page was changed briefly to Secretary of Defense after she stopped 29 of 31 shots and four of six in the shootout against Canada. The practice has become routine after huge performances in sports, but provides a laugh nonetheless, including from Rooney herself. “I saw it changed a few times,” she said at a news conference the day after the gold-medal game. “That’s funny. I wouldn’t call myself that.” A couple of her teammates with her at the news conference in unison replied, “We would.” . . . Duggan said she and forward Brianna Decker spent about 45 minutes videochatting with Julie Chu, a four-time Olympian who earned silver in 2002, 2010, and 2014, and bronze in 2006. “It was 4 o’clock in the morning, 2 o’clock in the afternoon her time, and she was just incredible to talk to,” Duggan said. “She was crying on the phone, we were crying on the phone. Just what a moment. To share that with her, it was fantastic.” . . . The All-Star team for the tournament, voted upon by the media and announced before the gold-medal game, led with Canada’s Melodie Daoust as MVP. The US’ Lamoureux-Davidson and Switzerland’s Alina Miller rounded out the forwards, Canada’s Laura Fortino and Finland’s Jenni Hiirikoski were the defensemen, and Finland’s Noora Raty was the goalie.Material from the Associated Press was used in this reports. Rachel G. Bowers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on twitter @RachelGBowers.