There’s no place like home for members of the U.S. Women's National Team.
Several players will have an opportunity to return to their roots for a “home” game of sorts, as The Time is Now Tour, presented by Toyota, which features Team USA in a series of exhibition cross-country exhibition games, kicks off Wednesday against fierce rivals Canada at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.
“I always say home is where the heart is, so it’s very exciting,” said Kacey Bellamy, a native of Westfield, Massachusetts. “I grew up in New England, I’ve been around the Boston area a lot and my family is everything to me.”
She isn’t the only one. The current U.S. roster includes four players who played at Boston College, including Alex Carpenter, Kali Flanagan, Megan Keller and Emily Pfalzer. Kendall Coyne played four seasons at Northeastern University, also located in Boston.
Bellamy, Carpenter, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin and Amanda Pelkey have all skated with the Boston Pride, a member of the National Women’s Hockey League.
“It’s awesome, and being home is going to be really exciting,” Flanagan said. “I’m going to have a lot of people there, as all the Boston kids will. It will be really cool for them to see us play live and especially play Canada. It will be an awesome game and we’re really excited to play there.”
Flanagan is a native of Burlington, Massachusetts, while Duggan hails from Danvers, and Carpenter from North Reading, three suburbs located about 20 miles from Boston. Flanagan and Carpenter both played collegiate hockey at Boston College.
“It’s definitely pretty special to be able to play in front of family and friends in Boston,” Carpenter said. “I think we’re all excited to have a packed stadium, and I think we’ll be excited to show Boston what we have.”
Carpenter said her dad, 18-year NHL veteran Bobby Carpenter, is in China, so he won’t be there live, but he’ll be watching the game. She expects her mother Julie and younger brothers Robert “Bobo” and Brendan Carpenter to be in attendance, along with additional extended family members. Bobo currently plays college hockey at Boston University.
“I think he’s excited, along with my family, to go there and watch,” Alex Carpenter said. “I’m excited to see him in the stands.”
Carpenter has attended her brother’s games, so she has experienced the raucous atmosphere at Agganis Arena first-hand. Carpenter, as one of four players on the roster to star at Boston College, is also excited to play as a professional at Boston University.
“There’s a bunch of [Boston College] girls on the team and [Boston University] is our biggest rival,” Carpenter said. “We’ve definitely talked about it and we’re excited to go into enemy territory and hopefully take the win.”
Flanagan will also have a large contingent of supporters in the crowd.
“My mom is one of nine, so her siblings and their kids will all be there,” Flanagan said. “Then, my dad’s side will all be there, so that will be exciting.”
Bellamy estimated about 30 friends and family in attendance for Wednesday’s game. She knows it’s going to be intense, and there will be jitters at first, being the opening game of the tour against the team’s biggest rival. But there’s also pure excitement, to have the opportunity to square off against Canada in front of the team’s closest family and friends.
“I know other New Englanders on the team are going to have a lot of support,” Bellamy said. “I think it’s exciting to showcase our team because some people have never seen us play live before. It will be a great show. The U.S. and Canada … it’s nothing but the best.”
The Time is Now Tour will shift to Florida for the Four Nations Cup Nov. 7-12. The four-team tournament consists of Team USA, Canada, Finland and Sweden. Then the U.S. and Canada will meet for two more games in the U.S. – St. Paul, Minnesota on Dec. 3 and in San Jose, California on Dec. 15.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.