Golden Scribes

U.S. Women’s National Team Writes New Chapter, Winning Gold At Women’s World Championship

The U.S. Women’s National Team erupted when Coach John Wroblewski ripped the upside-down decal of the word “SCRIPT” off the wall inside the locker room at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship. 

Wroblewski, head coach of the 2023 U.S. Women’s National Team, was grinning from ear to ear as his gold medal dangled from his neck. 

He had given a passionate speech less than 24 hours earlier about how it was time for Team USA to “flip the script” and win its first gold medal at the Women’s World Championship since 2019. 

“When you walk in here tomorrow, that script is going to be upside down, and we are going to be ready to go to work,” Wroblewski said with fire in his voice.  

Wroblewski wasn’t joking around either, as he had the word “SCRIPT” in all caps get flipped upside down by the team’s equipment staff prior to Team USA’s gold-medal game against Canada. 

The idea originated seven months earlier. Wroblewski had done an interview following the team’s 5-2 victory over Canada in the preliminary round of the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship and he had said that the Americans, which had rallied from a two-goal deficit, had “flipped the script.”

“I thought it was a powerful phrase with the state of where the rivalry was,” Wroblewski recalled. “There are so many different parallels that go into it. There are some other metaphoric items and symbolism that go along with it, too. We want the players to play within a scripted mentality in some areas, but we want to have freedom to go out and execute and play freely. There are a few different things that it carries besides just the overall ideal of winning or losing. 

“It is sort of for each player to interpret and go out and make it theirs. But I also wanted to use a picture and have the visual effect of having the script upside down and us be ready to flip it.”

Team USA certainly did that, in large part thanks to captain Hilary Knight. 

Knight scored twice in the final 3:01 and her hat trick helped the United States rally for a 6-3, gold-medal victory over Canada. The Sun Valley, Idaho, native’s two goals came in a span of 27 seconds to silence a stunned Canadian crowd inside CAA Centre in Brampton, Ontario. 

“These are two great teams going to battle,” Knight said. “It is hard to beat Canada. And it is hard to beat Canada in Canada, right? So, we definitely felt like an underdog, and we always feel like an underdog.”

Many claimed it a Golden Knight, but Knight was quick to divert the praise toward her teammates. 

“It takes a whole village to have one player be successful on the ice, and to have 25 going at the same time was an incredible feat,” Knight said. “We had a grueling selection camp to even get here. To have the gas and the legs for the final push of this tournament speaks volumes of the character in the room.” 

Following the victory, Knight motioned for her teammates Lee Stecklein, Megan Keller and Alex Carpenter to help her bring the championship trophy to the rest of the team so that they could lift it together instead of hoisting it by herself upon receiving it from IIHF president Luc Tardif.

It was just one of a series of inspiring moments from a “selfless and passionate” Knight throughout the tournament, Wroblewski said.

“You see all of her hard work, dedication and perseverance she has brought to the program,” Wroblewski said. “She is a warrior and can enter any room or avenue and make it hers and bring people into whatever fight she wants to be in that day. To see her first kick at being captain, for her to be able to hoist that trophy, and she shares it with the team instead of bringing it up herself—that’s inspiring.”

 “This team is so special, that is why I keep signing up,” Knight said. “There is something about the women in the room, on and off the ice that is so unique. I am really glad we could capture this win and remember this legacy.” 

The U.S. finished the tournament 6-0-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) and overcame three separate one-goal deficits in the gold-medal game. Aerin Frankel was a rock in net, finishing with 24 crucial saves. 

Keller was one of the first players inside the locker room to start chanting “flip the script” when Wroblewski walked in carrying a ladder moments after the victory. 

“It has been a while since we have been on the winning side of things,” Keller said. “Canada is a great program, and this is sort of just a fresh start, and it was a great team win. We got gold. Hopefully we keep it going. It is a huge honor and hopefully we can continue to get better and better each tournament, each game, each camp. We have a great program. It is not even everybody that is just here. It is everybody that was in Blaine (at the selection camp), everybody in college coming up, post grads. We have a huge group. We continue to push and challenge each other. 

“The sky is the limit.”

Amanda Kessel, who finished tied with Abbey Murphy for second on the team in goals (5) in the tournament, added, “This is the first one and hopefully we can continue on. We have a really good future ahead of us, and we are only going up from here.”

Some may think the script has since been flipped with the U.S. claiming gold, but Wroblewski explained that their work is not finished. 

In fact, this is only the first chapter, and there is now more work to be done to maintain the top spot on the podium. 

“I still believe the script is to be written,” Wroblewski concluded. “There is plenty of inspiration, but there is a new chapter to be written. It is one that has a clean slate now, but one with a lot of optimism.” 

 

 

Issue: 
2023-05

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