Crazy busy

The U.S. women’s hockey team packed in three victories (and one major brawl) around Christmas and New Year’s -- then announced the final Olympic roster on Jan. 1. Hilary Knight, a forward on the team, gives a glimpse at what those hectic weeks were like.

Hilary Knight

Awww mannnn, a goalie sandwich. I was sitting waiting for the bus, minding my own business jamming away to my music, and bam! Bri McLaughlin and Jessie Vetter smother me with some love! These gals are awesome -- they keep the mood light, but are also the backbone of this team.

I did have to buy Jessie a case of beer once because I hit her in the head a few too many times… but you wouldn’t know there were ever any hard feelings by looking at this picture!

We are waiting for the bus to take us from the hotel to the magnificent Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., for our game against Canada on Dec. 21.

Hilary Knight

After a solid win (4-1) in North Dakota, we decided to grab a group breakfast at the airport before we all headed out to our separate locations for our short Christmas break.

This was our favorite breakfast place when we were on the 2010 Olympic tour, so we decided to hit up our old spot. You can’t see the TVs in this pic, but the brawl we had with the Canadian team during the game the night before is replaying on all of the screens!

(Pictured from left to right: Bri McLaughlin, Shelly Picard, Julie Chu, Molly Schaus and Megan Bozek)

Hilary Knight

Home for Christmas at last!

I am an excellent gift wrapper. This particular gift is to my brother Remington. Since he also happens to be on Team Brunette, he knows the poor wrapping job doesn’t reflect my true sisterly love.

Team Brunette vs. Team Blond is a family tradition. The four of us Knight children are extremely, extremely competitive. We have tournament teams for everything, and how do we decide the teams? Hair color. Remington and I both have brown hair while William and Jamie are blond.

And yes, Team Brunette’s tag line is… What, is it because you’re blond? Let the chirps begin.

Hilary Knight

A picture of my puppy, O.V., and me snuggling on the couch. I like to take my downtime seriously, because I’m home for only a few days. I take that time to hang out with my family and do absolutely nothing.

OK, maybe I go to the gym sometimes just to stay in shape. We make a family event out of it and everyone goes and works out together. I am fortunate that my mother is so athletic, because she was the big push in getting me out of the house to play when I was younger, which led to my interest in hockey.

Hilary Knight

Family bonding time. This crew is heading to the mall for some last-minute Christmas shopping. (I mean, I needed to go Christmas shopping so I dragged them along with me!)

It is always fun to have Mom drive because we play ridiculous rap music and trick her into thinking that we are about to put on “her favorite song.”

(Pictured from left: Remy, me, William, Mom)

Hilary Knight

Christmas morning! Our traditional French toast feast with stockings. We open stockings, eat breakfast and then continue on to the big gifts! (And I try and fit a nap in there somewhere.)

This Christmas was super special because the boys received printed-out look-a-likes of their lodging accommodations in Sochi. They found out they were going to Sochi before I did!

Hilary Knight

Dad, William, Remington, Mom and Jamie. The whole crew with those dashing “Go USA” mittens!

Hilary Knight

Right after Christmas, it was on to Minnesota to play against Canada again on Dec. 28.

You probably have not seen Brent Proulx. He is the man -- the man behind all the equipment and other miscellaneous organizational things. He is amazing and we would be a hot mess without him. While Brent is working with us, his family is usually back in Minnesota, so when we were skating there he was able to bring his son to the rink. Adorable!

Hilary Knight

My roommate, Vetter, and I were so giddy after our win in St. Paul that we stayed up and chatted most of the night. That turned out to be OK because a fire alarm sounded in the early-morning hours, and we had to join our other teammates in the hotel lobby. They were woken up out of a dead sleep and it’s safe to say they were a bit less chipper than us.

Ice cream always tastes good after a win, so yes, we had a “treat yourself” moment. (Anyone seen “Parks and Recreation”?)

Jill Radzinski

Clearly I am in ridiculously deep thought, pondering all of the world’s metaphysical questions. Actually, we were short a few forwards for practice, and I think I was just trying to steal a few breaths of air before the next drill.

I was also looking around the arena because after our game in St. Paul, we headed to Toronto to play in a new facility there, against Canada yet again. This was our first time practicing here, and I was trying to take it all in.

What a crissssp number, too.

Hilary Knight

After another win in Toronto, we were on our way again to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Olympic team announcement during the NHL’s Winter Classic. If you watched it, you know that it was freezing cold, and every commentator continued to tell the viewers how cold it was!

Well, the night before the Winter Classic during our rehearsal was no different, if not colder. We decided to huddle together in a giant mosh form in order to keep warm. After a few minutes we rotated the people from the outskirts of the blob into one of the center positions.

I think I kept telling myself two words: beach and Bermuda. It didn’t physically help me keep warm, but at this point it was mind over matter!

Hilary Knight

After the rehearsal, we had our New Year’s Eve dinner! It was so much fun to spend NYE with this group, because we truly are family and there wasn’t a better way to hang out until the clock chimed in the New Year!

(Pictured: Kendall Coyne trying to warm up with a hot chocolate)

Hilary Knight

A quick picture on the bus with the golden ticket! We are off to the Winter Classic. I’m so excited, because the announcement will be made in front of 105,000 people, and I will be able to share the great news with friends and family!

Courtesy of Hilary Knight

We stopped to take a silly on-field photo before we got on stage for the official U.S. Olympic team announcement.

(Pictured from left to right: me, Gigi Marvin and Lyndsey Fry)

Hilary Knight

Twenty of the 21 players on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. Meghan Duggan is missing from this picture because she is fulfilling her duties as our leader and captain. She was being interviewed by the studly Jeremy Roenick when this picture was snapped.

Courtesy Hilary Knight

This is the last time I will be able to wear the Olympic jersey until we compete in Sochi, Russia, on Feb. 8. I decided to savor the moment and take one last picture.

I can never say it enough: It is truly an honor every time I put on the USA jersey. I am so fortunate to have another opportunity to play for our country. What an amazing journey this has been, and cheers to 2014 and continuing the journey to the Olympics as we pursue our road to gold!