There is an inherent motivation within Megan Bozek to be the best she can be.
It has helped the former University of Minnesota standout throughout her decorated college career, at the professional level and also within the ranks of USA Hockey.
It’s that drive that motivates Bozek and pushes her to help the team succeed, particularly this week as she and her teammates on the U.S. National Women’s Team, compete in the Four Nations Cup in Vierumaki, Finland.
“I think there’s a drive and determination to always be better,” Bozek said. “At the end of the day, if you can make yourself better, you’re fighting to make the whole team better.
“The girls I play and train with, we’re always pushing each other to get better. It’s a great atmosphere.”
It has been a recipe for success for Bozek.
The Buffalo Grove, Illinois native was on the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team, which captured a silver medal during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Bozek also won two gold medals with the national team during the 2013 and 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship, in addition to a silver in 2012. She won another gold medal during the 2009 IIHF Women’s World Under-18 Championship.
Bozek credited her teammates for the accomplishments.
“We always want more and I think that’s the competitive nature of all of us,” Bozek said. “Right now, we’re focused on the Four Nations Cup and then we’ll focus on what’s next.
“I’m really grateful for everything USA Hockey has given me and the accomplishments achieved within the teams.”
Perhaps the part Bozek is most grateful for is the opportunity to wear the USA jersey in international competition.
“There are no words to describe putting on that jersey, whether it’s the first time or the first time of a tournament,” Bozek said. “I know everyone says that, but it’s really how we truly feel.
“You always get that same feeling because you’re representing a whole lot more than yourself and 23 girls in that locker room. Always putting on that jersey is nothing short of surreal.”
Bozek, who captured a Toyota-USA Hockey Girls 19U National Championship with the Chicago Mission, represented her country in 29 games before playing in college where she reached even greater heights.
During her senior season, Bozek helped the Golden Gophers capture a second straight NCAA National Championship with a perfect record. She was a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, posting 57 points, which was a school record among defensemen.
Bozek finished her career at Minnesota with 47 goals and 146 points with a plus-153 rating in 157 games played.
“The hockey there is unbelievable and winning back-to-back national championships and going undefeated my senior year is a memory I will hold with me forever,” Bozek said.
Bozek, who was taken No. 2 overall in the 2014 Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) Draft and played one season with the Toronto Furies before joining the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) in 2015 and playing the last two seasons for the Buffalo Beauts, including the league’s inaugural season.
She played in the first-ever NWHL All-Star game, won the hardest shot competition and eventually helped Buffalo to a runner-up finish in the league behind Boston.
Bozek is excited for what the future holds in the NWHL.
“To be there at the start of the league has been awesome,” Bozek said. “It’s a competitive atmosphere that gives you opportunities to play once you’re done with college and helps you to keep fighting for a spot on the national team.”
Bozek looks forward to a strong showing by Team USA at the Four Nations Cup and whatever the future holds, which includes competing for a spot on the national team for the 2017 World Championship and ultimately the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
“I’m just going to keep training and keep working hard,” Bozek. “I have to make sure I’m at my best so I can put my best foot forward when opportunity arises.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.