After a golden international hockey career, Megan Bozek plans to enjoy life on the other side of the glass
The two-time Gophers national champion and four-time World Championship gold medalist announced her retirement from international hockey, but stays busy growing the game as a coach and broadcaster.
Living in Canada now, it is always special for Megan Bozek when friends come to visit. In the days before the two-time U.S. Olympian announced her retirement from international hockey, she had a front-row seat to see her friends and former Team USA colleagues win the Women’s World Championship in nearby Brampton, Ontario, which was a perfect bookend to her career in red, white and blue.
“It was very fun getting to watch some of my teammates in Brampton at the World Championships, because I don’t live too far from there,” Bozek said in a recent phone conversation with The Rink Live. “I think that solidified my answer that I was ready to retire from international play.”
A defender from suburban Chicago, Bozek’s international hockey career began when she was still a high schooler in Illinois and continued through last winter’s 2022 Olympics in Beijing, where she earned a silver medal. She was a two-time national champion with the Minnesota Gophers and won a quartet of gold medals as a member of Team USA.
“Megan was a defender that made a huge impact in all facets of the game, especially on the offensive end,” said Gophers head coach Brad Frost in a statement from the school. “She was extremely tough to play against, was a powerful skater and had a big shot. Megan was a once-in-a-decade defender that took that position to new heights. She is one of the all-time greats, not just for the Gophers, but internationally as well. Megan was all about the team and cared deeply for others. I am excited to see what her next chapter will bring.”
Now 32, Bozek lives in suburban Toronto with her husband and made it clear that stepping away from being an international hockey player does not in any sense mean that she is leaving the hockey world.
“I’m busy doing a lot of skill development work for clubs around here. It was a pretty fun year of saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity. I got to work with numerous different NHL clubs for community, youth and girls events,” she said. “I did some analysis work on the desk with the Vegas Golden Knights and the New York Islanders and was able to do a lot of work with the New York Rangers. So it was a really fun and different year for me, being able to travel to new places and get a taste of what it’s like on the other side of the rink. It’s been quite enjoyable.”
Bozek made her U.S. Women’s National Team debut in 2012 at the Women’s World Championship in Burlington, Vermont, and went on to win gold in 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2019 along with a pair of silver medals at Women’s Worlds. Bozek was also a key component of the U.S. defense in the 2014 and 2022 Olympics and was named to the media all-star team in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
“Megan Bozek represents determination and all that it takes to be part of the Women’s National Team program,” said Katie Million, director of women’s national team programs for USA Hockey, in a statement. “Megan embodied perseverance and attention to detail throughout her career on the ice and brought a consistent presence in the locker room. She will be missed, and we wish her all the best in the next chapter of life.”
Bozek said that since the retirement announcement the calls and texts have come nonstop, from friends she sees every week and from teammates she hasn’t seen in more than a decade.
“It’s always fun being honored and recognized for what you’ve done,” Bozek said. “It was such a big part of my life that it’s good to put a little bit of closure to it, and to remember where hockey took me and the paths it’s taken me down. It’s been fun.”