BRAMPTON, Ontario (WJMN) — After battling their way through the World Championship field, Team USA found itself going up against Team Canada, which was attempting to win back-to-back-to-back gold medals.
“I think going into it, we knew it was our moment,” Team USA member Abby Roque, a Sault Ste. Marie native, said. “A couple of us were saying just before the game that we were kind of having just a good feeling. We had a really good tournament leading up to that championship game too as a team. We thought we were getting better and better throughout the tournament. So I think that was a huge piece for us is that we knew what we were feeling going in and that it was kind of our time to really show everyone what we can do.”
Abby Roque joined the team in 2020 and was playing in her third World Championships. After a slow start, Team USA rallied to a 6-3 win behind a hat trick from Hilary Knight.
“I felt amazing, excited, and so happy for a lot of these girls,” Roque said. “I was a little bit relieved. I had obviously joined the team during COVID so my last two World Championships were the two that Canada had won. So it was good to finally get that gold medal around our neck, a couple of us, and my neck and get a lot of these girls first gold medals who are new to the team, we had a younger roster. So I think that was the biggest thing it was a weight lifted off the shoulders kind of thing. It was such an amazing time to celebrate with those girls because they all deserved it like no one else. They worked so hard to get there.”
Roque said it was an honor to play for the national team and represent her country, something she is hoping to continue to do in the future.
“There’s only 25 players picked for that roster in the whole United States,” Roque said. “To be a person on that roster it’s a huge honor. To be able to represent your country at the world stage, it’s a huge honor every time. We talk about it a lot, it’s a hard thing to stay on a roster and to stay on that national team. There is always kids coming in and it’s just about competing and making sure you’re putting your best foot forward everyday. That is where all women’s hockey players want to be is that national team roster and level and that’s the biggest thing for me is to try and put myself there.”
Fresh off of the World Championship win, Roque continues to share her skills and experience with the next wave of hockey hopefuls.
“I’m taking a little break from hockey, finally and then I’ll start summer training,” Roque said. “We have an August evaluation for Team U.S.A. Then, right after that I’m actually going to hold a camp in Sault Ste. Marie on Aug. 25 through 27 for ages 6 to 12. For any hockey player boy or girls. sign up it will be great. I’m really excited for that, it’s great to give back and see all of these younger kids playing hockey back up in the U.P. and they’re all wearing the gear I used to wear. It’s just awesome to see it so I’m really excited for that.”
A big message that Roque likes to spread to young players isn’t about medals, but the effort it takes to earn them.
“The first thing is that it is so very possible,” Roque said. “Obviously it is a very hard thing to accomplish but it is very possible. The more you work hard a put your best foot forward every day, it’s more and more possible. The other thing is to just have fun. Growing up I obviously worked hard and worked hard to get where I am today but a lot of it is I was just having fun. I would play hockey for hours on end. I would put my best foot forward just because I loved the sport. It’s really about don’t forget why your playing, you know? Where not playing just to be on the national team, we are playing because we love the sport. That’s what makes so many girls on this roster so good. When your younger just work hard and remember why you’re playing. Just have fun and enjoy it because that is one of the biggest things is just make sure you love what you’re doing and hockey is so fun. So I hope all of the kids are enjoying it and not taking it too seriously.”
Registration for the Sault Ste. Marie hockey camps that will be led by Roque in August can be found here.