There were probably only three or four dozen people who really knew what this one meant to Meghan Duggan.
Her two families -- those she shares her last name with and the women she plays hockey with -- certainly understood. So did her close friends, coaches and the doctors who had helped get her back to being ... well, Meghan Duggan.
So when the final horn sounded in Ottawa Tuesday night and the United States had defeated their bitter rivals from Canada, 3-2, for the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Women’s World Championship, feelings of elation and happiness, satisfaction and relief washed over Duggan like a waterfall.
It was not the first time the Danvers native has won gold (or the equivalent thereof), and it probably won’t be the last. But given the injuries she’s battled, the wondering when (and if) she’d play again and the countless hours she put in just to get back on the ice, it might just be one of, if not the, most meaningful.
“I’ve battled through so much just to be here,” said the 25-year-old Duggan, who suffered a serious concussion in December 2011 that had her out of action for more than six months, then developed complications from that concussion last November. Only within the last two months has she been back and sympton-free, feeling more and more like herself on skates.
“It was obviously an injury you can’t fool around with. I had a pretty low period; you wonder can I still play? How will this injury affect me? I was out of commission for a long time with a troubling injury, and there were definitely points (when) I wondered if I’d play again.
“That’s why,” added the 5-foot-9 power forward, “this win was so important to me.”