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Locals Bozek, Coyne named to U.S. women’s hockey team

On Monday June 24 USA Womens National Hockey team selecticamp Lake Placid NY annonced 25 players as potential Olympians for

On Monday June 24 USA Womens National Hockey team selection camp in Lake Placid NY, annonced 25 players as potential Olympians for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi Russia photo by Nancie Battaglia

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Updated: January 8, 2014 10:01PM

After learning she was selected as a member of Team USA women’s hockey, defenseman Megan Bozek baked a cake. But this was no ordinary cake. Written with frosting was a special message.

“I put ‘Sochi, here we come’ on the cake and that’s how I announced it to my family,” the 22-year-old Buffalo Grove native said.

Joining Bozek in Sochi is another Chicagoland product, 21-year-old forward and Palos Heights resident Kendall Coyne.

Bozek, a Stevenson grad, and Coyne, a Sandburg grad, began playing hockey as toddlers after following their older brothers to the rink.

“My brother Kevin always tells the story that pretty soon after I started skating he just became ‘Kendall’s brother,’ ” Coyne said.

Bozek and Coyne played on boy’s teams for several years.

“I don’t think girls should ever be afraid of playing with the boys,” Bozek said. “It made us the players that we are today.”

Bozek, a two-time NCAA champion with Minnesota, led U.S. defensemen in scoring with three goals and seven assists during the pre-Olympic schedule.

“We want to have offense from our forwards but also from our defense,” Team USA general manager Reagan Carey said. “She has the ability to get the puck to the net, and her shot from the point is really one of her strengths.”

Carey said Coyne’s incredible speed earned her a spot on Team USA.

“Kendall is one of the fastest players in the world,” Carey said. “Every shift, you can always count on her to be the one to make things happen.”

Bozek and Coyne are two of just four women from the Chicago area to ever represent the United States at the Olympics, joining the ranks of 1998 gold medalist Cammi Granato and 2010 silver medalist Lisa Chesson.

“Just seeing our names on the news, it’s pretty great,” Bozek said. “Chicago is a huge sports city. It’s fantastic knowing that we’re going to have all of Chicago behind us.”

Together, Bozek and Coyne have a long history of winning. In 2008, they won a national championship as teammates on the U-19 Chicago Mission AAA team.

U-19 head coach Tony Cachey said Bozek and Coyne are just the beginning of women’s hockey talent in Chicago. The current U-19 women’s team will send 13 players to play D-1 hockey next season.

“Women’s hockey in Chicago is probably as good as it’s been in years,” Cachey said. “Megan and Kendall play a part in that. They helped carve the way. When they first started it wasn’t quite as good as it is now.”

Team Canada will present the biggest challenge in Sochi for a U.S. team looking for its first gold medal since 1998. The U.S. lost its first three games against Canada before winning the next four matchups in the pre-Olympic schedule. Coyne said she enjoys the intense rivalry between the two teams.

“As people from Chicago would say, it’s like playing the Detroit Redwings,” Coyne said. “But those are the games we look forward to the most.”

If Bozek and Coyne get their way in Sochi, the icing on the cake would be a Team USA gold medal.

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