Meghan Duggan retires, leaving legacy that includes more than Olympic medals

Meghan Duggan
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Three-time Olympic hockey medalist Meghan Duggan announced her retirement this morning.

“I’m incredibly happy with my career,” she said in a USA Hockey press conference. “My gut has been telling me that this is the end of the chapter.”

Duggan, who grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts, was the captain of the U.S. team that won Olympic gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, and silver at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Duggan also played a large role in the U.S. team’s fight for better pay and resources. In 2017, after over a year of negotiations, the U.S. women’s hockey team threatened to boycott the World Championships if a wage dispute with the team’s national governing body, USA Hockey, was not resolved.

“We are asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought,” Duggan said in a March 2017 statement. “We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.”

Three days before the World Championship tournament began, the players and USA Hockey reached an agreement. While financial details of the contract were not disclosed, the deal wasn’t just about money. “We went over a lot of terms, everything from travel and meals and per diems, and injury protection and pregnancy and child care,” Duggan told Sports Illustrated in 2017.

“As I retire, reaching that landmark deal with USA hockey in 2017 remains one of the highlights of my 14-year career with the national team,” Duggan wrote today in an article for ESPN.

“She was a huge voice for our team,” Duggan’s U.S. teammate Kacey Bellamy told NBC Sports’ Nick Zaccardi on Monday. “Meghan just did an unbelievable job… making sure that everyone was on the same page and everyone was informed while we were going through the negotiations. Her voice was so powerful.”

The U.S. went on to win the 2017 world title (the seventh of Duggan’s career). The following year at the PyeongChang Olympics, she led the U.S. to its first Olympic gold medal since 1998.

Following the PyeongChang Games, Duggan married a longtime rival: Gillian Apps of Canada. Apps won Olympic gold in 2006, 2010, and 2014, with the latter two victories coming at the expense of Duggan and her American teammates. Duggan gave birth to the couple’s first child, George, on February 29, 2020.

Looking ahead, Duggan isn’t sure what exactly the next chapter holds, but there is no doubt she will remain involved in helping hockey continue to become more inclusive.

“We’ve come a long way in women’s sports and women’s equality,” she said in today’s press conference. “There’s a continued push for many more minority groups… and I’m always going to be a champion for marginalized groups, I’m always going to be someone who speaks up about issues or things that need change.”

Read more about Duggan’s career:

Meghan Duggan, U.S. Olympic champion hockey team captain, retires

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