Caitlin’s Olympic journey began in figure skates. The only hockey player in her immediate family, Caitlin became acquainted with the ice when her mother Barbara, a former figure skater from Ohio, brought her to learn to skate lessons at the Yale University rink. Though she quickly moved to the head of the class, her progress stopped short one afternoon when the Yale women’s hockey team had a game against Dartmouth College immediately after her lesson. One glance at girls like her in hockey gear and Caitlin was sold. The next morning she had her mother sign her up for in-house hockey, and she never looked back. She played on a boys hockey team through her freshman year of high school for Yale Youth Hockey and joined her first girls team, The Southern CT Stars in the fall of 1998. Though the Stars had never won a State Title, they won the State, Regional and National Championships in 1999, the last spurred on by Caitlin’s game-winning goal on a breakaway in the third period.
She continued to play with the Stars while at The Hotchkiss School, and won numerous All-New England awards. From Hotchkiss she went on to Harvard University where she shared the ice with U.S. National teammates Angela Ruggiero and Julie Chu. Her senior year Caitlin captained the Crimson to a 32-2 record, winning the Beanpot, Ivy League, ECAC Regular Season and ECAC Tournament titles, the last, again sealed by her game winning goal in sudden death overtime. She was named an NCAA All-American as well as Academic All-American, a testament to her abilities both on and off the ice. In addition, she was awarded the Radcliffe Prize as Harvard’s Top Female Athlete of the class of 2008. In four years, she competed in 4 NCAA tournaments including 3 trips to the Frozen Four and graduated 14th on the Harvard Women’s Hockey all time scoring charts, a significant accomplishment for a defenseman.
A member of the US Women’s Hockey Team since 2005, Caitlin has contributed both offensively and defensively for the squad. She is a three time world champion, leading the tournament in defensive scoring two out of three times as well as a member of the 2006 Olympic Bronze medal team. In 2008, she scored the go-ahead goal in the must-win semi-final against Canada, which spring-boarded the USA to its second World Championship. Following her return home, she awarded the Bob Allen award given by USA Hockey as the top American-born Player of the Year.
The next year in 2009, she scored two goals in the Gold Medal game, the first coming 21 seconds into the first period, the fastest goal scored in the history of IIHF World Championship game. Her second goal in the third period solidified the first back-to-back World Championships for the US Women’s National Team. She additionally received the media award as the Top Defenseman of the Hockey Canada Cup, the pre-Olympic test event prior to the 2010 Games. Team USA won the Gold Medal at this event. Her dream was to win a Gold medal for her country, but came up just short as the team fell in the finals to Canada 2-0, winning a Silver.
In the Fall of 2011, Caitlin added being a law student to her resume balancing pro women’s hockey and Boston College. This at times was hard, but her drive in wanting to do it got her through studying on busses to away games in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and all the time when she was not on the ice. At the 2011 IIHF World Championships in Zurich the US won Gold and her outstanding play led her to be named to the All Tournament team on Defense.
In February 2012, just prior to the World Championships, Caitlin suffered 2 concussions in CWHL (Boston Blades) and was unable to play for the US. Her concussion symptoms have been treated by the same team of doctors who helped cure Sidney Crosby from the Carrick Institute in Atlanta. She returned to active playing status with Boston for the 2012-13 season, where as Team Captain she led their squad to their first championship. She was named one of the CWHL top three defensemen for season. Shortly thereafter Caitlin retired from the game and began her third year of law school. Caitlin graduated from Boston College Law School in May 2014.
Caitlin has been a Hockey ambassador for the US Olympic Committee’s “Team for Tomorrow” program, helping to lead the charge in spreading the Olympic spirit through volunteerism. She has raised over $16,000 for the Susan G Komen foundation, has continued her extensive work in community service in New England and has been a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. Now as a retired hockey player, she is still giving back to the sport by becoming a board member for the fledgling Women’s pro league the CWHL to help it grow in the United States and serves as an ambassador for You Can Play and Athlete Ally Principle 6.
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