Oct. 8, 2012
Megan Bozek earned All-America honors last season after posting the nation’s second-highest point total by a defenseman. She was also nominated for the Patty Kazmeier Award and made the NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team after Minnesota’s championship run. The Buffalo Grove, Ill., native went on to play for Team USA in the World Championships and the USA vs. Canada series in the offseason. Entering her senior season, Bozek was named co-captain of the Golden Gophers.
Q: What are some of your favorite championship moments from last year’s game?
A: Knowing that we played Wisconsin in the finals at Duluth, I don’t think there’s any better feeling. I think our two biggest rivals are Duluth, whose rink hosted it this year, and Wisconsin. Playing Wisconsin and knowing that we had the better turnout and played well that game, I think that was very exciting.
Q: How soon after that game did you start thinking about trying to win another championship?
A: It’s hard to think about doing it again when you know your season is so long. You honestly have to take it week by week. Injuries happen and things go on during the season where you don’t know if you’re going to be playing that next game or practicing that next week. But I think everyone’s absolutely thought about repeating. But I don’t think anyone is going to say that’s what we’re looking for right now. The season’s just getting going. I think once we start picking up everything, I think people will think about how exciting the idea is.
Q: You were the second-leading scorer among all defensemen last year. How are you able to get on the score sheet so often from your position?
A: I think one of my strengths on the defense is getting my quick shot off from the blue line. It helped that I was paired with great forwards. We don’t have one weak line on our team. I was fortunate enough to get some power play time, as well. I think just everyone creating opportunities and crashing the net is what made our team successful and got people goals.
Q: What were some of the highlights of your time playing for Team USA?
A: It’s exciting knowing that I represent my country as best as I can. Going off such a great season last year, I was excited and confident going into the World Championships, and hopefully taking things that I had done the past month—along with Amanda Kessel and Anne Schleper—to our World Championship team. That didn’t turn out quite as we wanted it to, but it’s always a great experience putting on that U.S.A. jersey. It was pretty fun playing Canada this summer. We played Kelly Terry and Sarah Davis, so that was fun to play some teammates.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a captain this year?
A: It’s a huge honor to be named a captain of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. It’s such a highly respected program in all aspects—academically and athletically. We had such huge leaders last year that we just needed to follow. I think Bethany (Brausen) and I have a big role to fill. I think that will give people more opportunities to lead. We’re definitely excited to get the season going with the girls.
Q: You still have your senior year ahead of you, but what do feel you have improved the most during your career so far?
A: I think just being more confident in the game. Going out there every shift knowing that, if I play like I can, I’ll be fine. And I have teammates that are going to support me no matter what. If I make a mistake or if I make a good play, they’re always going to be there for me. There’s that sense of loyalty and pride that Minnesota has. Things are going to go wrong during your career, but I do have the best teammates that I could ask for.
Q: How does it feel to see your name and picture on the All-Americans wall in Ridder?
A: It’s exciting. When I first saw it, I was actually with my mom showing her some new things in the rink, and I saw that. It’s an honor. I have to dedicate that to my team from last year. We had a great team, and not one selfish player on the ice. That helped me strive to be better along with my team.
Q: Do you wear your championship ring?
A: We got it (at the Gopher football game on Sept. 15). We wore it that night and the next day a little bit, but I’m very nervous to wear it in case I lose it. So I keep it in a box in my room. I don’t want to get it scratched or anything.
Q: You are 5-9, but you are still the shortest defenseman on the team.
A: It’s weird. I’m used to being the tallest. I’ve learned over the years here, though, that I’m not the tallest. But knowing that I’m the shortest is crazy. I think for other teams, looking at that, it has to be intimidating for them knowing that I’m 5-9 and I’m the shortest defense. Like last year, I think we’ll have one of the strongest D corps in the country. I think that our height will really help with stick reach.”