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Meghan Duggan relishes chance to skate with U.S.

by Adam Kimelman

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The American players who skated Thursday morning weren't scheduled to play Thursday against Finland, but they did get a special treat. Joining them for practice was Meghan Duggan, a member of the U.S. national women's team.

"I'm here for two weeks working a camp and staying at the [Olympic] Training Center," she told "I told the director of our program that I'm going to be here and she spread word to JJ [Jim Johansson, national junior team general manager]. He grabbed me the first day I was here and said listen, Thursday, 10:45, if you want to jump out with the guys, you can. I'm just honored. USA Hockey is a big family. It was great for me to be out there."

Duggan is a four-time world champion and was a member of the 2010 Olympic team, but said skating with the World Junior Championship hopefuls was a thrill.

"They're unbelievably talented, and big and fast and strong," Duggan said. "I can't believe they're only 18, 19 years old. It was unbelievable. I was lucky to be out there with them. They were helping me along. I had a blast."

The guys who skated with her felt equally lucky.

"It was cool," Stefan Matteau told "It was a good experience. I didn't expect anything less from her. I knew she had a lot of talent, she's been on the national team for several years."

She also had no problem with any physical play.

"It's great for us to jump out with guys any time we can," she said. "They bang us around a little bit, they're bigger and faster, so we have to work hard to keep up with them. I told them to treat me like one of the guys."

It wasn't the most intense practice ever, but Matteau said no one took it easy on Duggan just because she had a long brown ponytail sticking out of the back of her helmet.

"We knew what to do," he said. "We're not going to give her any easy passes. She's a hockey player once we got on the ice. She didn't look out of place. She's as good as any of us, if not better."


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