After a 14-year career with the U.S. women's national hockey team, captain Meghan Duggan announced her retirement on Tuesday.
Duggan, 33, who captained three Olympic teams, won silver in 2010 and 2014 before the team clinched its first Olympic gold in over two decades at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Duggan played Division I hockey for the Wisconsin Badgers from 2006 to 2009, where she totaled 69 goals and 82 assists in 118 games.
"I certainly feel at peace with my decision," Duggan said in a Zoom call with reporters. "Today is an exciting day to celebrate with my family and my teammates and so many people that have been in my life to get to this point.
"But it's certainly an emotional one as well. It was a very difficult decision because hockey has been my place, it's been my life. I've grown up through the sport since I was 3 years old and put skates on for the first time. For me, it certainly feels like the end of something I've poured a lot of heart and soul and time."
Duggan added that her decision to retire now was ultimately "a gut feeling."
She ends her professional hockey career with 42 goals, 41 assists in 110 games played and seven gold medals at Ice Hockey World Championships.
It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to represent Team USA on the world stage. Hockey has given me memories I will cherish forever. To my teammates, coaches, support staff, organizations, fans, the next generation of players, and especially my family – thank you. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/AzYE91hmCE
Off the ice, Duggan along with her teammates negotiated an agreement in 2017 with USA Hockey that would allow women in the program equitable treatment and pay on the same level as the men.
Kendall Coyne, a former teammate and current national team captain, said the mark that Duggan left on the U.S. hockey program was far greater than all of her accomplishments.
"You have definitely left this game better than when you entered it," Coyne told Duggan on the Zoom call.
Duggan said although she believes the process is ongoing, the U.S. women's team made a difference in advocating for women's sports and equality.
"I think everyone knows that there's a continued push for many different minority groups in sports and out of sports," Duggan said. "I'm always going to be a champion for marginalized groups, and I'm always going to be that someone that speaks up and stands up and speaks out about issues or things that need change."
While Duggan received congratulatory messages from Hockey Hall of Famer Cammi Granato and her former Wisconsin-Madison coach Mark Johnson on Zoom, she also thanked her family for the sacrifices they made in her hockey career.
"My family means everything to me," Duggan said. "I wouldn't be sitting here today, I wouldn't have achieved or had the experiences that I've had without them. They are at the cornerstone of my hockey career."
Follow Edith Noriega on Twitter @Noriega_Edith.
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