Like many young athletes, Reagan Carey ’01 grew up with Olympic dreams. Her grandfather, a Nordic skier, competed in the 1948 and 1952 games, and one of her Colby women’s hockey teammates, Courtney Kennedy ’01, played on the team that won the silver medal in 2002 and bronze in 2006.
This year it’s Carey’s turn, though she’s not strapping on hockey pads.
She is director of women’s hockey for USA Hockey, and she’s at the top of the staff list as Team USA competes in the games in Sochi this month. As director she selects coaches, assembles player rosters, and makes sure the team is able to compete at the highest level possible.
Carey was a sociology major and a serious hockey player at Colby. She remembers the Colby environment as welcoming and fun, but highly competitive. In 2012, when she needed an assistant coach for Team USA, she tapped Laura Halldorson, who had recruited her to Colby before Halldorson went on to win NCAA D-I national championships at Minnesota.
Carey said Colby athletes enjoy a strong community, and some of her team’s biggest fans are Mules. “I still have tons of connections and friends from those days. A lot of them have been out to our games, and it’s been cool to see the support from Colby.”
Olympians pass the time in quads—the four years between games during which they relentlessly practice, plan, and prepare. Carey was scoping out facilities in Sochi as early as 2012. Last summer and fall were spent assembling athletes who can play as a team. Since then, Team USA has been working on all the physical and mental skills they’ll need when, on Feb. 8, the puck drops and they face Finland in their first game of the Olympics.
So, how are their chances?
“The gold medal hasn’t been won by a women’s U.S. team since 1998, so we’re aware of what’s at stake,” Carey said. “We can’t overlook anybody, but we’re confident that we can play the best game we can play, and that we’ll have success.”