by Meaghan Cahill ’20
It has been 20 years since a women’s hockey team from the United States has won a gold medal. And this past weekend, on Saturday, February 10, three members of 1998 Women’s Olympic Hockey Team were present at Providence College to speak on a panel called The Gold Standard.
“I wish I could be there,” Cammi Granato ’93 said as she kicked off the panel in a prerecorded video that played after a video montage of highlights featuring the gold-medal round game. The montage brought player Lisa Brown-Miller ’88 to to “tears” and “gave [her] goosebumps.”On it being 20 years since winning, Granato, captain of the only gold-medal winning, commented, “I can’t believe it.”
So, why did PC put together this panel during Alumni, Family, and Accepted Students weekend? The answer to this question is that the first ever Women’s Olympic Hockey Team consisted of seven PC alum, and three were able to speak on behalf of their team and the remarkable feat they accomplished: Vicki Movsessian ‘94, Sara DeCosta ‘00, and Brown-Miller. “Thank you to the College for inviting us back to be remembered,” Brown-Miller started once Granato’s video had finished.
Hosted by current Providence College Women’s Hockey Coach Bob Deraney, the panel consisted of the three women reflecting on both of their Olympic experiences, PC experiences-all of which they said was “the best,” and how they formed their lives today.
“Every aspect of PC shaped me for the Olympic games…even Western Civ!” DeCosta said with a laugh when asked how PC helped her in her Olympic success.Movsessian was quick to bring up how seven members of the 20 member team came from PC. “A championship environment…that PC built. [The] identity of what women’s hockey became was transformed at PC.” Movessian’s point really kicked off what became the main topic of discussion of the panel: women’s hockey then and now. “We really were the pioneers [of women’s hockey],” Granato stated in her video. “And that is a bond we’ll have forever.”
As mentioned, the 1998 women’s hockey team, a team that Movessian said was made up of “20 people who wanted so badly to do well for each other and collectively win,” was one of the first ever female hockey teams to compete in the Olympics. They also remain the only U.S. women’s team to ever win a gold medal in the Olympic Games.
Prior to 1998, outside of New England, women’s hockey was still almost unheard of. “Growing up…I didn’t know any other girls who played,” Brown-Miller, a Michigan native, stated. “There were not a lot of opportunities back home. PC opened the doors and just as the doors were opening, I was able to step through.”Even DeCosta recognized how small the women’s hockey world was just 20 years ago. “I wasn’t aware of what women’s hockey…was at the time,” she said.
However, Movessian, a Massachusetts native, had a different experience with hockey growing up, stating, “There were tons of opportunities in Mass to play girls and boys hockey.” But even with all of her opportunities to play, Movessian still commented, “We didn’t know about the Olympic games [and the efforts to put a female team together]. We weren’t playing for that reason; we were playing because we loved to play.”
Twenty years after the victory that started a hockey phenomenon, DeCosta stated, “[It has been] an amazing experience to see the growth of women’s hockey…amazing to see the skills and the talent.”
The talent that they spoke of, can be seen in the current PC Women’s Hockey Team, which is currently ranked second in Hockey East, as well as the current 2018 Women’s Olympic Hockey Team. As for this year’s Olympic team, Granato is convinced that the women “are riped to win.” Of course, it has been 20 years since the U.S. has won a gold medal, but Granato stated, “I have a strong feeling this year’s team [will win],” and her sentiments were echoed by all three of her teammates.