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Decorated Decker Chases Ultimate Hockey Prize

11/15/2016, 9:45am EST
By Dan Scifo - Special to USAHockey.com

Young Standout Forward Already a Veteran for Team USA

Despite winning almost everything in her career, Brianna Decker has some unfinished business to take care of.

A native of Dousman, Wisconsin, Decker has captured championships at just about every level. Missing from the group is an Olympic gold medal, an accomplishment she hopes to check off the list during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to succeed on a lot of different teams I played on, but I can only give credit to other people I’ve been surrounded by,” Decker said. “I hope there’s more to come and hopefully I’ll have another chance to win a gold medal in 2018.”

Decker credited brothers Bryan, Ben and Brody for helping cultivate her love of hockey, and parents Marilyn and John for their support and commitment. It has helped Decker reach the highest level of women’s hockey, taking home plenty of hardware and accolades along the way.

She played with the Madison Capitols on the boys’ and girls’ team from 2001-05, and captured a state championship with the U14 girls’ team in 2005. Decker then played at prestigious national powerhouse Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, winning national titles in 2005, 2006 and 2009. She continued her career at the University of Wisconsin, just an hour from her hometown.

Decker flourished at Wisconsin, winning the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top player in college women’s hockey. Decker, ranked second at Wisconsin in career goals (115), points (244) and third in assists (129), holds the program record for longest scoring streak at 32 games and established a new mark during the 2011-12 season with 12 game-winning goals.

The highlight came when Decker helped Wisconsin capture the NCAA women’s national championship during the 2010-11 season.

“Wisconsin is one of the best programs in women’s hockey and I felt honored to be able to play there and to be successful,” Decker said.

Decker has also enjoyed a highly-decorated career thus far within USA Hockey. She started with the Under-18 program when she was 16 and has been involved ever since.

“The USA Hockey family means everything to me,” Decker said. “I’ve met a lot of great people, but especially teammates who I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life.”

Decker has has thrived with USA Hockey, helping the National Women’s Team capture four world championship titles (2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016) in the last six years. She also won a silver medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“Being able to fulfill that was unbelievable,” Decker said. “I had a pretty good experience in Sochi, but obviously when we came up short that took away a little from the excitement of being at the Olympics.”

Now, Decker is eyeing the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championships on home soil in Plymouth, Michigan, and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

“All the training we do goes into winning a gold medal,” Decker said. “Right now, we focus and prepare ourselves the best we can for whatever game or tournament is ahead of us.”

Decker also won championships at the professional level. She helped the Boston Blades win the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) title in addition to leading the Boston Pride to the inaugural National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) Isobel Cup title last season. She scored the first hat trick in league history and was named most valuable player during the regular season and Isobel Cup playoffs.

“To be able to win was awesome because we had a great group of girls in Boston,” Decker said. “I’m happy we have the NWHL. It’s great for the U.S. players to be able to play in a league because it keeps us on top of things, keeps our training up and holds us accountable in game situations.”

In early November, Decker tallied three points, including the game-winning goal to help the U.S. National Women’s Team defeat rival Canada for the program’s seventh Four Nations Cup title.

“Anytime we have a chance to put on a U.S. uniform and compete with the top girls in the country, it’s awesome,” Decker said. “To win another Four Nations Cup was our goal and I’m glad we were able to accomplish that.”

The 25-year-old Decker led Team USA with a goal — the all-important game-winner in the title game — and six points as she continues to settle into a veteran role on the team, becoming part of the overall leadership group within the program.

She hopes it ultimately will all contribute to Olympic gold in 2018.

“I’ve been training to win a gold medal,” Decker said. “I feel like it’s crazy to think that I’m a veteran on the team considering I was so young when I started playing in the program, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have great leaders before me and I’m hoping to follow in their footsteps.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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