Hockey Player From Western Mass. Readies For Her Third Winter Olympics

Feb 8, 2018

The winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are getting underway this week. These are the third Olympics for Westfield, Massachusetts, native Kacey Bellamy -- part of the U.S. women's hockey team. 

Bellamy went to Berkshire School in Sheffield before attending the University of New Hampshire. 

As she was wrapping up preparations with the team at their training camp in Florida, we caught up with Bellamy, and asked what it means to be headed to another Olympic games.

Kacey Bellamy: It's very exciting. [I] definitely don't take it for granted. It's been such an incredible journey and just such an honor being able to represent the United States of America, and put on that jersey for USA Hockey.

Adam Frenier, NEPR: Tell us a little bit about what the process has been like over the last year.

After world championships, we had tryouts for the Olympic team in May down in Florida here, and then once that was picked, we came together in August as a whole group.

That's when we get centralized for six, seven months, so we're able to train together day in and day out, and really feel that grind, and just be able to play Canada, play other teams, play boys' teams down here, and just being able to perfect everything that we've been training for.

Obviously, the team bonding and chemistry is such a big part of that dynamic, so we've been able to do that, as well. 

What's it like being an Olympian -- the actual experience of going through an opening ceremony, and the routine that you've been through in your last two Olympics? 

Being an Olympian, it's very hard to explain. It's something that I take so much pride in. Once an Olympian, you're always going to be an Olympian forever.

I've had the honor of being able to do it now my third time.

I think my favorite memory by far was Vancouver, when I walked into opening ceremonies with my team. Out of thousands and thousands of people, I was able to see my parents up in the bleachers there, high up, waving our flag.

It was really emotional for me, just being able to be around all the other athletes. It's a time in the world right now where everyone is being able to come together, and do what they love, share their passion for their sport.

Is there something from your background that you take with you every time you go to one of these?

Right before my first Olympics in Vancouver, I wrote a lot of thank-you letters to everyone that has helped me along the way and my journey. The last Olympics, we were so focused on going, and setting our minds on the gold medal.

I think this time around, it's more making sure that I remember that little girl who put on those skates and wanted to make it to the Olympics one day, or wanted to live her dream.

I'm bringing pictures with me this time, so I'm putting them in my room, and printed out pictures of my coaches from Berkshire, and my teammates from UNH, my family members, people that have really helped me along the way.

I look at those pictures and I say, you know, this is for them. This isn't about me. This is about the people that have helped me along the way.

The United States and Canada have quite a rivalry, and the Canadians have gotten the better of it the last couple of times. Do you have to try to keep your mind on the entire tournament and not think about Canada?

We don't really try and look forward to that gold medal game at all. We have to take it one game at a time. You have to win those games to make it.

Obviously, competition is great. We play Finland first, so that's going to be a really great game right out of the chute. But Canada, it's an amazing rivalry that we have with them -- I'd say one of the best rivalries in women's sports.

Kacey Bellamy is a member of the U.S. women's hockey team. She grew up in Westfield, Massachusetts. The game she mentioned against Finland is early Sunday, February 11, 2018, at 2:30 a.m.