Amateur hockey: Former Olympians are part of Return of the Robin
Gigi Marvin has nothing against silver.
She just doesn't want any more of it in her trophy case.
Marvin has played on the past two United States Olympic women's hockey teams. Both times, in 2010 in Vancouver and last month in Sochi, Russia, Marvin and her teammates left the gold-medal game on the wrong end of the scoreboard against their bitter rival, Canada.
The heartbreak has subsided a bit from the 3-2 overtime loss the U.S. suffered against Canada in the gold medal game in Sochi on Feb. 21 — a game in which the U.S. lost a two-goal lead in the final 3:26 of regulation. Marvin is now able to look back on the experience with a sense of pride.
The former Warroad High School and University of Minnesota star is already thinking about the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
"I am looking forward to (the 2018 Games)," Marvin said Sunday at the Rochester Rec Center, where she was playing for the Minneapolis-based Fly Wheels co-ed team in the annual Return of the Robin amateur hockey tournament. "Sochi was awesome, a great experience. To be able to play and compete at the highest level, that's what every athlete wants."
Marvin was an All-American and a two-time top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award during her Gophers career, which stretched from 2005-2009. She was named Minnesota's Miss Hockey in 2005 after her senior season at Warroad.
She said she is proud of how women's hockey continues to grow and improve across the U.S. and the world. Eight days ago, Clarkson beat the Gophers for the NCAA Division I national championship, becoming the first eastern team to win the women's title after Wisconsin, Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth had won all of the previous 13 Frozen Fours.
At last month's Olympics, Canada and the U.S. met for the gold medal for the fifth consecutive time, but countries such as Finland, Sweden and Switzerland were much more competitive than in previous Games.
"I think it's inevitable," Marvin said of the sport growing throughout the country and the world. "With enough vision and commitment, and you put the right people in charge, you're going to see growth. We see it a lot now on the international stage and it's great that college athletes are improving, too."
Marvin was one of two former Olympians on the Fly Wheels roster over the weekend, joined by 2006 and 2010 U.S. national team member Caitlin Cahow, a 2008 Harvard graduate.
Cahow and Marvin have both played for the Boston Blades of the professional Canadian Women's Hockey League in recent seasons. The five-team league — with other teams in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Brampton, Ontario — is one of few options for women whose college careers are over to continue to play.
"It's tough," Marvin said. "When you're out of college and want to compete at a high level, you have to go to (the CWHL) or find ways to play. A lot of players stay around their hometowns and compete in men's leagues or wherever they can."