"This is on a bigger scale, but I'm hoping those experiences in the past can help me manage this", he said.
A whirlwind schedule upon landing included being outfitted with Olympic gear, getting checked into the Olympic village, visits to their rooms where Hockey Canada set up pictures of their families, a briefing on taking precautions amid the norovirus outbreak and, finally, a visit to the rink. Kessel and her teammates are charged with representing the country and hopefully bringing home the gold medal.
"What we were doing had a bigger goal", Decker said.
The result is a United States of America roster filled with former NHL players, college athletes, players in the American Hockey League and primarily players who are now playing in European leagues.
"When I got that phone call saying I made the team, it was an unbelievable feeling", McCarthy says, "something I dreamed about when I was a kid". It helped them to feel like a team.
"A lot of people say they're the ones that have the most experience, the best careers, so they will certainly be a team at the top of the list when you look at it", US head coach Tony Granato told reporters last month.
"It was huge", captain Meghan Duggan said of the labor dispute. It energized us through that, through the World Championships that came right on the heels of that. "We know we're diverse as a country, but our team was very diverse".
Although the Canadians are the four-time defending Olympic champions, the United States won the Four Nations Cup in November.
Meanwhile, Team USA and Hockey Canada are likely on another collision course in the women's tournament.
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But Canada has dominated the Olympics with gold medal wins in each Olympic showdown since - most of which were won in the final round against Team USA, save for a Canada-Sweden showdown in 2006. This is when they will put into use the lessons they learned from that 2014 gold-medal game loss.
If the game is tied at the end of the regulation time, then it becomes overtime. "We have a job to get done".
The players also took a hard look at their situation with USA Hockey.
"We are lucky as Canadians because we've seen our teams do that", Burke said.
The players asked for parity in compensation and support with the men's program and financial commitment from the governing body to youth development programs for girls, similar to those for American boys. For the past three seasons Clark has also led the University of Wisconsin Badgers.
"I always try to remain current and I have a good mind for the game of hockey so I figured I would have some success".
Canada bounced back with four straight victories in head-to-head competition against Team USA during December warm-up games for the Olympics.
Another benefit of the players' stand was evident a few days after the agreement was struck.
"Penticton for sure is my favourite place, well and Saskatchewan where I am from", said Clark.
The team had a new energy and strength, a new confidence.
"One of the things that was so great about that '80 team that people don't understand was that it was like what you're going to see right now", Michigan Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. We have to thank the National Hockey League for moving franchises into Phoenix, and San Jose, and more in southern California, Dallas - that's helped open the game up to more parts of our country and have players from everywhere. It makes me happy to see that they are remembering him in that way. When the two teams met in the gold-medal game, the USA had a 2-0 lead late in the third period. "We got through that, and we got through the fact that there's plenty of ways that we will honor him with how we act, how we play".