Beijing: When the puck drops here Tuesday afternoon in the latest edition of the Winter Olympics’ fiercest rivalry, former United States captain Meghan Duggan will be parked behind a computer in her Connecticut home, cheering on the women’s hockey team along with her fellow alumni at a virtual watch party she helped organize. her wife will not be invited.
“We’ve talked about that,” says Duggan. “will be separate rooms, separate TVs, I think.”
Reading: Us canada women’s hockey
Even in the broader sports world, few matchups contain the raw passion and tension evoked every four years when the us. uu. and Canada meet. Consider: The two sides have met in all but one of the six women’s hockey Olympic finals since the sport was introduced in 1998; no other nation has captured gold. the 2014 final in sochi went into extra time. the 2018 final in pyeongchang required a penalty shootout. And that’s not to mention the biannual iihf world championships, where their average goal difference per game over the last decade is just 1.6. “It’s hot,” says Gillian Apps, a three-time Olympic champion. “it’s amazing.”
For duggan and apps, however, this rivalry is far more complex than the ordinary black-and-white calculus of this border battle. and they are not alone. In addition to them, two other married couples of former American and Canadian players—Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette and Kathleen Kauth and Jayna Hefford—have bridged the gap to build lives and families together away from the track, proving once and for all that the love is thicker than ice and vulcanized rubber.
“not something I would necessarily recommend people to compete for an Olympic gold medal against the person you’re dating,” the app says. “But I think it says a lot that we respect each other enough to know that we can handle something like that and that if we can get through something like that, then we can also handle other challenges that come our way.” /p>
Both forwards rose through the ranks of the ncaa (applications at dartmouth and duggan in wisconsin) and were first linked in the summer of 2013, introduced through mutual friends in the sport. But it wasn’t long before their relationship faced its biggest test to date when Apps and Canada outranked Duggan and USA. uu. About current captain Marie-Philip Poulin’s sudden death goal in Sochi. Naturally, Duggan was crushed, and the emotional toll took its toll on his partner. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” she says. “It was an incredibly challenging time for us.”
for applications, then basking in the afterglow of a third straight gold, the key was giving duggan room to cry. “She didn’t know what it felt like to lose at the Olympics, and she had never experienced what it felt like to win,” she tells Apps. “It was that respect, that professionalism of understanding that we are in totally different worlds but together.” On the other hand, Duggan recognized the importance of allowing apps to celebrate without worrying about how it would affect their other half. “I think that’s what we needed to do, just do our stuff with our teams,” she says.
Four years later, Duggan had his moment when the us. uu. He survived a late Canadian power play in overtime and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the penalty shootout goal for a 3-2 win. Apps, who retired in September 2015, was busy with her studies at business school at the time, but she flew to South Korea for 36 hours to support his wife. “It obviously shows the kind of person that she is,” says Duggan. “I think she wanted to stay alone and watch the game.” Of course, any disappointment the apps might have felt was dwarfed by the thrill of seeing Duggan with gold around his neck, and the knowledge that Sochi angst was no longer off limits. duggan says. “I don’t like it yet. But we’re adults.”
like apps and duggan, chu and ouellette were stealing pucks long before they stole hearts, both at the 2002 olympics and in college. (The third and oldest Canadian-American couple, Kauth and Hefford, declined an interview request for this story, citing personal privacy.) But it wasn’t until 2005 that they became friends after working together at a hockey camp in Ontario. “I was dating someone else,” Chu says. “But as our friendship grew, and I broke up with my previous girlfriend, we had the opportunity to make it evolve.”
ended up dating for the next three olympics, facing similar challenges as apps and duggan; The hardest part came in Sochi, where a potential player who would have almost secured American gold crashed into the post and paved the way for Poulin’s heroism. “That was very difficult,” Ouellette says. “We both knew it was our last Olympics, but we’ve always been there for each other. That’s why it worked.” in fact, two years later, chu and ouellette lifted the cwhl clarkson cup as teammates at the montreal canadiennes, just a week after ouellette learned she was pregnant with their daughter, dozens of headlines followed declaring that the couple had restored the faith of the people. in the power of love.
“We’ve experienced it all,” says Ouellette. “We’ve been together every hour of every day, and we’ve been apart for months. we’ve done a lot of those tests that are difficult for relationships and we were ready for the most difficult one: becoming parents.”
“From the outside, I’m sure people are saying, ‘how is this possible for any of the three couples?'” adds chu. “But in a relationship, you want to connect with someone you can relate to, who really understands what you’re going through.”
now the assistant head coach and head coach of concordia university of montreal, respectively, ouellette and chu are equally pleased that the others also understand what they are going through. “When word got out that we were together, I never expected the amount of support or the message of hope that he gave to all kinds of people of different ages,” Ouellette says. “i have a tournament that i do every year, and [players] look at me and julie, and say, ‘these are your daughters!’, it restores faith that this next generation will be more open and tolerant, and we go to be more inclusive as a society. The evidence is here in Beijing, where at least 35 of LGBTQ athletes are performing on winter sports’ biggest stage, more than double the number in Pyeongchang, according to OutSports. “It makes us very proud to think about Sochi,” says Ouellette, “how it was just the opposite and we were encouraged to remain silent because of the [Russian] government.”
chu will have the house to herself for us inclination. USA-Canada on Tuesday (11:10 p.m. ET), she will care for Liv, 4, and Tessa, 21 months, while Ouellette helps call the game in French for CBC Television; not that any of the little ones have developed a national allegiance yet. “our smallest, you can put whatever you want on it,” says chu. “Our oldest daughter wants to be in Anna and Elsa dresses.”
Across the border, fiercer competition looms. Apps plans to give Duggan ample room for her watch party: “Yeah, I probably won’t be there,” she says. But, true to her Olympic experience, she’s certainly not going to back down when it comes to what 2-year-old George and four-month-old Olivia will wear. “I’m sure it will be an exciting night in our home, each of us trying to claim the rights of our two children,” says apps. “or they wear a mixture of both, whoever wakes up first with them can get the right shirts.”
the good news? even if the apps lose, there will always be another usa game. uu. and Canada.