Olympic hockey player Gigi Marvin aims to inspire girls

The 2018 Olympic gold medalist is in this year’s Sanford/Hy-Vee Legends for Kids

A headshot of Gigi Marvin

2018 Olympic gold medalist Gigi Marvin will participate in this year’s Hy-Vee/Sanford Legends for Kids free hockey clinic on June 14. First, though, she took the time to talk with us about hockey and love.

Marvin hails from northern Minnesota, but she plays professionally for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League. Like fellow Team USA teammate Jocelyne Lamoureux, Marvin will share her experience, some tips to young athletes, and guidance on how to be a role model in women’s sports.

Last year we had Jocelyne, one of your teammates and longtime friends, here as well. She is instrumental in bringing popularity to women’s hockey and helping the sport grow in many places.  What have you gathered in your experiences around the growth of women’s hockey in different parts of the country?

You can look at the numbers and you can see the growth, but just traveling the country, I see the growth and excitement around women’s hockey. I’ve been to Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, both coasts, and people not only watch the game but cheer for the game and know the sport of hockey.

It is really fun to see the casual fan increase but also just the numbers increase, especially with girls starting to play. My teammate Kendall Scofield at the NHL Skills Competition just blew the barriers wide open by showcasing her skill, and kids literally started skating the next day just because they saw that — little girls. So it’s huge.

Jocelyn is an amazing role model as well, and when you see it on TV, you’re able to dream for that when you’re young.

The gold medal performance in the 2018 Winter Olympics was a big part of getting that movement going. Have you had time to even reflect on that, and that kind of impact on the sport of women’s hockey?

Yeah, but I think like any point in history, you don’t necessarily know the significance when you’re in the moment.

I have such an appreciation and gratitude for what we did and how hard my teammates work and just the amazing skill that everyone put forth, but I think years from now we’ll see the result of it.  I see it every time when I run my hockey camps. You know, the little girls can rattle off names of women now instead of just men. Not to say that the Sidney Crosbys of the world aren’t amazing — they are — but for a young girl, you want to see a woman do it. It just adds to the significance and the empowerment that you feel as a child.

I remember how I felt watching the ’98 women win the gold medal in Nagana and watching the ’99 women’s soccer team just crush it and win the World Cup. It’s something different when you can watch someone who is just like you go out and crush it and be amazing and do what they were meant to do.

How do you think about your legacy and your career outside of sports? How are you trying to shape your path both within sports and beyond sports? And how do you demonstrate that to kids in sports?

Great question.  I believe in the Lord, and I believe he gave me everything literally. So for me, as I grow up, everything I want to do is just … to love God but love others. So I hope that every single fan I meet, every ref I interact with, every kid I coach, every person who just watches from afar can just see that. That’s the only thing that kind of goes through my mind.

You know what — every single person is so important and so valuable, and we don’t hear it enough. We don’t hear even, hey, the things that you’re good at. I think we get really caught up in things we shouldn’t  be, or things we can’t be.

I just feel like wherever I go, I just want people to know any time they see me, whether they hear me speak or watch me play the game, that they somehow can get this message and grasp this truth that they are so important and valuable, because you don’t hear that enough, especially as kids in our world are so focused on the negatives. You open Twitter and social media, and it’s the worst possible thing you can think of versus let’s sit and honor and glorify and exult the great things that happen. Because, yeah, one thing happened, but we’re also human. What about the 50 other great things that happened in that game that we could comment about but we choose not to?

So, in a long story, it’s just hoping people realize how important they are and helping them live that out and know that they are of great worth to this community and this world.

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