BURLINGTON Ė The last time Megan Bozek played at an IIHF event was in 2009 at the U18 in Fussen, Germany. The defenceman helped defeat Canada for gold, and then a few months later she started her NCAA career at the University of Minnesota, studying sports management.
Now 21, Bozek finished her third year with the Gophers in fine style last month, capturing the NCAA championship with current USA teammates Anne Schleper and Amanda Kessel, as well as Finnish goalie Noora Raty who was instrumental in the Gophersí victory.
The 2012 WW marks Bozekís first IIHF games at the senior level with Team USA.
When did you start skating? Why?
I was three years old and I was around the rink in Glenview, Illinois a lot because I have two older brothers who played. My parents decided to let me try it, and I loved it.
Who was your first hockey hero? Why?
Mike Modano. He had his own stick, so I thought he must be pretty good.
What was the name of your first team?
It was Mighty Mites for the Glenview Stars. I played goalie my first year. No one volunteered, so I raised my hand. I had to play the whole season. After one year, I decided I didnít like it.
What made you want to take hockey seriously enough to play for the national team?
I always played many sports when I was little, and when I got to high school I was playing only softball and hockey for the first two years. I realized I loved hockey more than anything, so I focused on one sport.
Why do you wear number 25?
No reason. I always wore 19 but Gigi Marvin has it. I want 19 because that was my brother Stevenís number, and I always wanted to be like him when I was little.
Any pre-game superstitions?
Honestly, no. Iím not superstitious at all, but I do think itís funny hearing other peopleís. I just listen to music and take a pre-game nap.
Whatís on your iPod?
Country. I love country. Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood.
What do you remember about your first game with the national team?
I played a three-game series against Canada. Some of the girls from the senior team visited us and told us there was nothing like the feeling of putting on the U.S. national team jersey and representing your country. I think it was Julie Chu who told us that, and after she walked out, we all put on our jerseys at the same time. It was such an exciting moment, because this is what we all look forward to. We donít have an NHL or junior hockey, or professional leagues. And now to move to the next level is just awesome.
Whatís your career highlight to date?
Three weeks ago, we won the national championship in Minnesota. That was one of my goals, and Iím accomplishing another goal by making this national team, so hopefully we can make more memories in the next two weeks.
Whatís your greatest strength and biggest weakness?
My greatest strength is probably rushing the puck. Iím an offensive defenceman and shoot from the blue line. Greatest weakness is probably holding on to the puck too long.
Who on your team do you most admire? Why?
Tough to say, but Iíll go with Jenny Potter. Sheís always been a role model. Even coming to camp the last few years, I find sheís so personable and will always talk to you about anything you need. She initiates conversations and letís you ask questions.
What do you want to do after your playing career?
I want to become a sports agent. Thatís what Iím going to school for.
Finish this sentence. This will be a great tournament ifÖ
..we play for the name on the front of the jersey and not on the back.