USA Hockey Magazine

February 2018

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36 // 2018 OLYMPIC PREVIEW USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM out together away from the rink. They spend their time in a variety of ways, be it watching movies, having dinner together, taking an art class, visiting Universal Studios, playing golf or laying out by the pool soaking up the Florida sun. "Our team chemistry off the ice carries over to what we've been able to do on the ice," Cameranesi said. "The team chemistry is great. We are around each other constantly. We have so much fun together. It feels like we are a family." Decker knows how fortunate the team is to be here. The team spent most of its time in Boston getting ready for the last Olympics, and while it's a great city, it didn't allow for the same opportunities the team has down here. "When you live next to each other, you can go out the door and hang out at some- one else's apartment," Decker said. "It's a lot easier to hang out, whereas in Boston, we were spread out and you didn't really want to go out and get stuck in traffic to hang out. The set-up here is awesome." Teammate Meghan Duggan, a two-time silver medalist, said the culture created even by doing something as simple as watching television together or taking an after dinner walk, have been instrumental to the team's success. "This year we have a unique opportunity to be together and be training together day in and day out," said the team's captain. "It's all about the culture that is created within our locker room and the relationships that we build that will propel us onto the ice. I love it. I think it's an awesome opportunity for us and we've definitely been taking advantage of it." Decker tries to take advantage of the free moments when possible, be it out on the town or within the 40-acre resort that features three pools, 45 tennis courts, two golf courses and volleyball and basketball courts. The activity that consumes their free time depends on how the day went. "A lot of times you are wiped out after a long training day, so you might just lay out by the pool and relax," she said. "The great thing is we are enjoying a place we've never trained at before and we are bonding over things other than hockey." A little more than three hours after prac- tice began, the players are ready to head out into the sunshine. The excitement of the Olympics is building, the team one step closer to its dream of getting an oppor- tunity to avenge the overtime loss four years ago in Sochi, Russia. "The ending of 2014 was a disappoint- ment, and the girls who were there took a lot from that experience, as far as how to prepare, dealing with distractions like media and family," Decker said. "We have to stay focused and take it one game at a time." As important as being at their best is for the players, they haven't taken this residency period for granted, as they savor each day as they work toward their ultimate goal. "Any time you have an opportunity like this, it's really special and hard to put into words," Flanagan said. "It's gone by so fast, but you remember the lessons you learned and the memories you made as a team. It's been an amazing experience." P Brian Lester is a freelance writer based in Pensacola, Fla. "It's all about the culture that is created within our locker room and the relationships that we build that will propel us onto the ice. I love it." –Meghan Duggan Sisters Sunshine It's been work hard, train hard for the U.S. Women's Olympic Team players training outside Tampa, Fla.

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