By Phil Stacey
---- — The intensity, passion and drive that Meghan Duggan brings to the hockey rink every day always has a way of rubbing off on those around her.
Now she’s been honored at the highest level possible for those very attributes that she cherishes and builds her game around.
Duggan, a Danvers native, has been named captain of the United States Women’s National Team. She will serve in that role for the duration of USA Hockey’s “Bring On The World Tour” leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February.
“It’s quite the honor. It means the world to me,” the 26-year-old Duggan said in a YouTube video shown on USAHockey’s website following yesterday’s announcement.
“I’m just looking to do whatever I can to lead the team in the right direction. We’ve got a great group of girls; it doesn’t take too much to get everyone going because we all know what we’re going after.”
A three-time national champion at the University of Wisconsin and the 2011 winner of both the Patty Kazmaier Award (given to the top NCAA women’s hockey player in the country) and USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year, Duggan has served as a captain for USA hockey previously. She guided the team at the 2008 Under-22 Series and the 2011 Four Nations Cup, and has been an assistant captain twice (2012 Four Nations Cup and 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championships).
“Meghan has been a valuable leader for our team and exemplifies all aspects of what we expect from our players,” U.S. Women’s National Team and 2014 U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey head coach Katey Stone said. “She has earned this opportunity with her effort on the ice and by the example she sets for her teammates.”
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Duggan, a forward known as much for her defensive dominance as her offensive prowess, has scored 33 goals and chipped in with 23 assists in 86 career games playing for Team USA dating back to 2007. She is a force on the power play and also counted on to kill penalties, and is a mainstay on the ice in the final minutes of close games.
This will be Duggan’s second trip to the Olympics with Team USA; she helped her squad win a silver medal at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
“Every team you’re on and everyone you work with really builds your character as well as the character of the team,” said Duggan. “I’ve been blessed to have played alongside some great people that I have learned from, as well as a great staff that I’ve been able to learn from.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to kind of take what I’ve learned and try to lead the team in the right direction.”