One Lahey Hospital & Medical Center colleague has an extra reason to cheer for U.S.A. during the Winter Games.
Anita Gagne, a medical secretary in the Infectious Diseases department will be rooting for her daughter, Kali Flanagan, as she goes for gold with the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Gagne remembers her reaction when her daughter told her she was going to play in the Winter Games.
“I’ll never forget that phone call,” Gagne said. “She called me first thing on a Friday morning and she said ‘I made the team.’ I couldn’t even speak, I just cried.”
Flanagan, a Burlington native, plays defense and was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship in April. In May 2017, Flanagan was one of 23 players chosen to represent the Women’s National Team in South Korea and she began training with the team in Tampa, Florida last August. The team then played exhibition games against Canada in October, November, and December
“It’s really surreal,” Gagne said. “It’s been an amazing ride for the last year.”
Gagne will travel to South Korea on Friday to see Flanagan play. The U.S., which took home the silver medal at the 2014 Games plays the first of its three preliminary round games Sunday against Finland before taking on Russia on Tuesday and Canada on Wednesday. The quarterfinals begin on Saturday.
Flanagan has been playing hockey for her entire life, so Gagne understands how important it is to support a young athlete in their quest to fulfill their dreams. She’s been behind her daughter every step of the way.
“For Kali, she’s always been so driven,” Gagne said. “It’s something that she’s wanted her whole life. She’s gone back and forth to different national camps. You didn’t have to push her. She’s had a goal, she’s never felt like she’s had to sacrifice at all. We’ve always been so behind it.”
Now, Flanagan has the support of an entire country behind her, too.