By Carley Dangona
A heartbreaking end to the Women’s Olympic gold medal hockey game sent Kacey Bellamy’s family and friends into silent disbelief.
Reminder Publications photo by Carley Dangona
WESTFIELD – Kacey Bellamy, a member of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Olympic hockey team and a Westfield native, said it’s too soon to think about the future in the wake of the gold medal loss.
The U.S. team led Canada 2-0 until Brianne Jenner scored to make it 2-1 with just 3:26 left in the third period. A second goal by Marie-Philip Poulin in the final minute of regulation sent it into overtime, setting up Poulin to score the game winner at 8:10.
“Right now, it is hard to even think about the future because this one hurts a lot,” Bellamy told Reminder Publications. “The sting is still there and will be I know for a while. My dream is to win a gold medal and once again we were short of that, but I wouldn’t trade the hard work and the memories with this team.”
She continued, “After the dust settles a little and I take time to reflect and digest I will choose my next step in this journey. Eventually I want to coach and be able to make a difference in others lives as my coaches have done for me. If I can continue to play and coach I would love that.”
Bellamy, who was part of the silver winning team in Vancouver, described the mindset of the team heading into overtime. She said, “Going into overtime we had no doubts still. Obviously it was a turn of events the last three minutes of regulation, but it is the gold medal game and we still had overtime to leave a mark on the game. In the lockeroom we were very focused, motivated knowing it was a 0-0 game, and we would leave it all on the ice.”
She added, “Sochi was an amazing experience – obviously it being the Olympics – but to our team we tried to just focus on it being another hockey tournament and our focus was on each practice and each game that each day had to offer.”
Bellamy explained why she chose the sport. “Hockey is such a unique sport for me because of the athleticism it takes to be successful, but also the team aspect of it all. Playing and sharing memories and pure competition with your best friends is amazing. The families and friendships I have made throughout this journey has been the most special to me and will last a lifetime. Without the support of all these people and my family I could not be where I am,” she stated.
Supporters of Bellamy gathered at the Tavern Restaurant, 2 Broad St., to watch the Americans and Canadians battle for gold. Those in attendance included Bellamy’s sister Lindsey Bellamy, cousins Jeanine and Robert Braceland, aunt Jeannie Fiedler and Mayor Daniel Knapik. When the winning goal was scored, a hush came over the crowd as they sat and stared, openmouthed, at the replay.
During a timeout in the third period, Reminder Publications chatted with Lindsey about watching her sister in the Olympics. She said, “It’s the most incredible feeling – words can’t describe – she’s my hero. I love her so much. I’m so proud of her, of the whole team. The past four years of blood, sweat and tears has seriously shown.”
Just prior to the overtime period, Knapik said, “This is an unbelievable, rare opportunity for any community. No matter the outcome, we’re very proud of Kacey and her family – they’re great ambassadors for the U.S.”
When asked if the game was as nerve-racking as election day, he responded, “About the same.”
After the reality of the game’s end set in and the crowd came back to life, Robert Braceland said, “Silver doesn’t suck.”
In response to the outcome, Lindsey said, “Honestly, they should have won this game. They still left with a silver medal [though].”
When asked what she’d say to Kacey if she was alongside her in Sochi, Russia, Lindsey stated, “I love you so much. You guys did a great job.”
Will Kacey “go for gold” in the 2018 Winter Olympics? “I think she should give it a try. I think that she’ll keep trying,” Lindsey said.
Jeanine Braceland reacted to the loss. She said, “I was extremely hopeful – what a great game. I’m so proud of Kacey; she works every day to get where she is. We have four more years.”
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