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PODCAST: Duggan Brings Storied Career to New Jersey

The former professional player brings an extensive career and arsenal of experiences to the Devils as a Manager of Player Development

by Catherine Bogart catherinebogart / NewJerseyDevils.com

As a three-time Olympic medalist, eight-time World Championship medalist, former U.S. National Team Captain, and winner of various awards and honors throughout her career, Meghan Duggan easily left her mark on the sport of hockey as an athlete. After retiring in October 2020, Duggan looks to make her mark in the NHL.

In May, the New Jersey Devils announced they hired Duggan to be a Manager of Player Development for the franchise. Duggan's role works primarily with Assistant General Manager Dan MacKinnon and Devils players all throughout the organization.

"When I retired I knew I wanted to continue to make an impact in hockey, whatever that looks like. And it took me a little bit to rediscover what path I was going to take," Duggan said about her post-retirement days. "I'm thrilled that I'm joining an organization that values (diversity and representation) and puts emphasis on that because that's really important to me."

In her new role, Duggan has a wide list of lessons she's learned that will benefit this young Devils team. As a former player who reach the top of her game, Duggan will easily be able to relate and work with the franchise's players.

"I think what excites me so much about the role is what's on the horizon for this young team. It's so exciting to be a part of something like that," Duggan said. "I just retired, just fresh off of playing. Being able to relate to such a young team, and these young players that have so much to look forward to."

Some of the biggest lessons Duggan learned throughout her career involved her final two Olympic Games: first in Sochi in 2014 and then in PyeongChang in 2018. The U.S. lost in 2014 to its rival, Canada, after possessing a two-goal lead in the final minutes of the third period. Canada scored twice to force the game to overtime, and there the U.S.'s northern rivals won its fourth straight Olympic Gold.

Following the tournament Duggan took some time off for self-reflection before returning to to training and preparing for the 2018 tournament.

"I spent some time looking at myself in the mirror, (asking myself) 'what are you made of, how are you going to lead this team better next time?' Why do you want this? Why is this so important to you?' And through answering all those questions I was able to make changes personally in my game adn my leadership," recalled Duggan. "So it was really our moment in those four years, between 2014 and 2018 to say, enough is enough. We need to make some major changes and transformations here and the way we always did it just doesn't work anymore."

Team USA went on to win its second Olympic Gold Medal in the 2018 Olympic Games, and rallied to beat Canada in overtime. Just like she lead her team to overcome a demoralizing defeat in 2014, Duggan will not only bring a new perspective to the Devils, but continue to leave her mark on the game.

"It's just that Billie Jean King 'be it, see it' mentality," Duggan said. "Hockey's evolving right now … the ultimate goal is to make hockey a safe, inclusive, diverse place.

"It's evolving now and I'm excited to be a part of that. I'm excited to keep pushing."

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