The United States women's ice hockey team's gold-medal winning victory against Canada at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics had everything. Now it also has an ESPY.
The team was recognized with the Best Game award at the 2018 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday for their 3-2 shootout win in in February and took the stage with captain Meghan Duggan, who had a special group to address in her speech.
"The young girls around the rinks that are always banging on the glass, cheering on our team, this means the world to all of us," said Duggan, who won silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
After a quick acknowledgement of the other nominees, Duggan talked about the team that inspired them, the women's gold medal-winning hockey team which defeated Canada 3-1 at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Canada had won the previous four Olympic golds, including defeating the United States in three of them.
"Twenty years ago a fire was lit in all of our hearts after watching Team USA win a gold medal in the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. A dream that all of us have built our lives around," Duggan said. "It's a dream come true for all of us. To be standing up here accepting an ESPY award for best game is a tremendous honor for our team and we accept it on behalf of all female athletes everywhere who have had those dreams and relentlessly pursued them. Keep dreaming."
The women also won the 2018 Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year on Tuesday, awarded to the team that demonstrates how teamwork can create a measurable impact on a community or cause.
"It has been a blast getting back together with the team and being recognized for both our on- and off-ice accomplishments," said forward Kelly Pennek, who assisted on Monique Lamoureax-Morando's tying goal with 6:21 remaining in the third period of the gold medal game. "These two days we have heard and celebrated so many powerful and inspiring stories, and to be a part of it was truly an incredible experience."
Following the Oympic win, the team had a whirlwind couple of weeks, which included stops in New York where they appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," and met and signed autographs for fans at the NHL store NYC, a trip to California where they appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," as well as dropping the ceremonial first puck at a handful of NHL games.
"We feel incredibly honored to have received these awards,"defenseman Lee Stecklein said. "To be included and recognized among such amazing athletes is indescribable. I feel so grateful to have been able to share this entire experience with this group of strong women."
The United States women's hockey team was also nominated for Best Team, Best Play and Best Olympic Moment. Forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson was nominated for Best Female Olympian.