Every Picture Tells A Story

U.S. Women's Team Goalies Add Personal Touches To Their Equipment

BEIJING – When times are tough and the game is on the line, Nicole Hensley has a secret weapon that helps her stay calm and focus on the next shot on goal. It’s ice cream.


“It’s something that makes me smile and reset when I need to,” Hensley said of the ice cream cone graphics that are affixed to the back of her Team USA goalie gloves.


For any goalie, customizing their equipment is an alluring part of playing the position. It gives them an opportunity to showcase a little piece of their personality in a sport that is all about the team. 


For each of the three netminders with the U.S. Women’s Olympic Team, every picture on their mask tells a story. 


Maddie Rooney, the hero of the 2018 Olympic gold medal game, loves to  showcase her pride in her native Minnesota with a logo on the backplate and the symbols of America on the front that speak to her love of country.


She worked with mask designer extraordinaire, Brian Shott, who took a few of the Andover, Minn., native’s ideas and ran with them to create the final design that will be showcased when the puck drops on Team USA’s first game of the 2022 Olympics against Finland on Feb. 3.


“I’ve always loved having the eagle and the Statue of Liberty on [my mask],” Rooney said. “I gave [Shott] a few ideas and just let him do what he wanted with it, and it really turned out nice. I’m excited to see it showcased here on the world stage.”


Alex Cavallini had big plans for her goalie mask but delays in the manufacturing process didn’t leave enough time for it to pass muster with the International Olympic Committee, which has a strict policy of restricting political symbols and gestures from the Games.


“I wanted to be able to feature legendary Team USA female athletes. I thought it’d be really cool to be able to put some women who’ve inspired not only myself, but the entire country and world,” said Cavallini, who added that her original desig featured a tribute to the 1998 women’s team that won the gold medal in the inaugural women’s Olympic tournament.


Still, the mask that Cavallini received when she arrived in Los Angeles for Olympic in-processing showcases her pride and patriotism with images of a bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty and the USA Hockey crest.


“I’m very, very happy with how it turned out,” she said. “I wanted a different design, but working with what I got, I’m very, very happy with it.”


Hensley’s mask features a similar motif but has one unique addition that speaks to her love of her home state of Colorado. The backplate to her helmet features an image of the iconic Red Rocks amphitheater, which is five minutes from Hensley’s Lakewood, Colo., home.


“I’ve seen a ton of concerts there. I’ve been to sunrise church services there on Easter, and I’ve even done yoga there,” she said. “It’s a place that’s close to my heart and I think a good representation of Colorado.”

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