Colorado Springs, Colo. - As the doors opened at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, cameras flashed and members of the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team were all smiles. They were the first of a star-studded class of 2019 to walk the red carpet as part of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The enshrinement came nearly 22 years after the 1998 team won the first ever Olympic gold medal in women’s ice hockey.
Behind the guidance of head coach Ben Smith, Team USA finished the tournament in Nagano, Japan undefeated (6-0-0) and outscored its opponents, 36-8. Cammi Granato, a 2008 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee, Karyn Bye, Katie King and Gretchen Ulion co-led the U.S. with eight points each, while netminders Sarah Tueting and Sara DeCosta split time in goal, each winning three games. The team was previously inducted to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2009.
“It’s such an honor to be in the Olympics,” said Tueting, who was joined by her son and daughter on the red carpet. “To see the other athletes that have been inducted it makes you realize what an extreme privilege it is to play for the United States of America.”
Tara Mounsey collected two goals and four assists in the ’98 Games, which was tied for tops among defenders for Team USA. Walking the red carpet, she echoed Tueting’s comments.
“I’m so thankful for the experience, the opportunity, and to share in this with such an amazing group of people.”
As the ceremony rolled on, Jimmy Roberts, the event’s host, walked to the stage and began talking about the 1998 team as highlights played in the background.
“In the gold medal game, they pulled out a nail biter against Canada that foreshadowed the rivalry of the future, winning the first ever gold medal awarded at the Games in women’s ice hockey,” Roberts said to a loud applause.
The team then took to the podium, and Lisa Brown-Miller (Union Lake, Mich.) was chosen by her teammates to accept the award and give a speech on their behalf.
“Each player’s role was vital to our team’s success,” she said prior to listing off every member of the team by name. “We thank you, and all who voted for our team. It is truly an honor to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.”
The 1998 team was the only team in the class of 2019. Joining them were 12 other individual honorees from a number of different Olympic and Paralympic events. The inductees include Candace Cable (Para alpine skiing, Para Nordic skiing, Para track and field), Lisa Leslie (basketball), Nastia Liukin (gymnastics), Misty May-Treanor (beach volleyball), Apolo Anton Ohno (short track speedskating), Erin Popovich (Para swimming), Dara Torres (swimming), Chris Waddell (Para alpine skiing, Para track and field), John Carlos (legend: track and field), Tommie Smith (legend: track and field), Ron O’Brien (coach: diving) and Tim Nugent (special contributor).