When the Covid-19 outbreak began in early 2020, Megan Bozek was in China, playing for a professional hockey club.
“We get a message with our group that there’s been outbreak of some sort, and the picture in the article you have to click to translate it is someone being pushed out on a gurney, so we are like okay what is going on?” Bozek recalled.
Bozek and her teammates had to finish their season in Russia—just in the nick of time.
“We ended up winning the championship in 3 games which was a saving grace, because it was a best of 5 and if we would’ve played another game we either wouldn’t have made it home or wouldn’t have finished the season,” Bozek said.
The Buffalo Grove native and Stevenson High School alumna made it back to her home in Canada hours before the borders closed. After a crazy two years which included the cancellation of the 2020 IIHF World Championships, Bozek is hopeful to head back to China— this time for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
“Our protocol is 30 pages long, so you look at it and it’s strict but it keeps us all safe and healthy.”
The 30-year-old won a silver medal for Team USA in the 2014 Games but was one of the final roster cuts in 2018.
“I just knew I wasn’t done,” Bozek said. “I felt like I had something to really prove to myself. I didn’t feel like I had played myself out of a spot or position.”
The defenseman recovered from that setback to help the US Women’s national team win the 2019 World Championships, her fifth gold medal in the premier international tournament, and a silver medal at this summer’s event in Calgary.
In September she began residency in Minnesota with 27 other Olympic hopefuls, training until the team is officially named in January. And as Bozek eyes a return to the Olympic stage, she knows she has a large fan base rooting for her back home.
“Just the notes I get, the messages I get, it’s exciting. It’s a team behind the team. It really does go a long way.”