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NHL.com Chat Transcript: Karyn Bye
February 25, 1998

Karyn Bye, fresh off Team USA's Gold Medal-winning Olympic performance, stopped by to chat with fans about hockey and her experiences in Nagano. Here's what she had to say:

Guest: What was the best part about winning the gold medal?

Karyn Bye: The best part of winning the gold medal is the feeling of accomplishment. This is the goal that I set out for myself a long trime ago, and I finally achieved it.

Guest: Karyn, what's the outlook for pro women's hockey? I heard my hometown of Marlborough, Mass. may be a site for a team.

Karyn Bye: I heard there's going to be a pro hockey league starting some time this year. I think they're going to start with 4 - 6 teams in the US and Canada...Whether this takes place or not, I don't know for sure.

Guest asks: Are you still wearing your gold medal?

Karyn Bye: I wore the gold medal for three days straight. I even slept with it! Now I just sleep with it right next to me.

Guest: Now that the Olympics are over, what other competitions will you be participating in? Do you have to go back to a day job?

Karyn Bye: I'm currently busy doing appearances, speaking engagements and visiting family and friends. I plan to continue training and look forward to the 1999 World Championships which will be held in Finland in April.

Guest: In celebration of National Women in History month, I'm going to visit my son's elem. school dressed as one of the Gold Medal Women's Hockey players. Can you give me any background info that would be interesting to the kids....how you all got started, etc. I can't think of better role models! Thanks!

Karyn Bye: Every member of the gold medal team grew up playing with the boys, and at some point in their career switched over to playing with the girls. Some played with the boys all through high school, and some only to 7th or 8th grade.

Guest: Do see yourself moving into coaching after your playing days are over?

Karyn Bye: My future definitely holds a coaching career at some point in time. My short term plan is to keep playing hockey as long as I'm having fun and as long as I make the team. I spend a lot of my summer coaching kids at hockey camps, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Guest: Any advice for a female hockey player who wants to one day play in the Olympics?

Karyn Bye: Follow your dreams. Where there's a will there's a way.

Guest: Do you think the NCAA should allow all the players to appear on the Wheaties box?

Karyn Bye: Yes, I do, even though I know it's a violation. It took all 20 members to achieve this gold medal.

Guest: How did you feel when you found out you were going to be on the hockey team?

Karyn Bye: The first thing I did was call home and tell Mom and Dad. I was in Lake Placid at a training camp, and Coach Smith announced the 25 members of the pre-Olympic team. Prior to Christmas, three more members were cut. That was a very emotional day, and it was hard to see your teammates and friends leave the team.

Guest: How are you handling all the sudden media attention,   particularly considering the fact that you were all relative unknowns not so long ago?  

Karyn Bye: It's taken     some time to get used to all the media, but it's great for Women's Ice Hockey.

Guest: Do you plan to play in 2002?

Karyn Bye: Yes. Hope to see you there!

Guest: Who do credit most for making you a great hockey player?

Karyn Bye: I give a lot of credit to my hockey coaches. And I also give a lot of credit to my brother who taught me everything he knows.

Guest: I heard Tara Mounsey wouldn't mind opening the game up a bit to some checking/hitting. What is your view on this?

Karyn Bye: Personally, I wouldn't mind having body checking, but the game overall is better without it. The women's game has a lot more finesse and it's a much purer game without the clutching and grabbing.

Guest: The American and Canadian women's teams are clearly the best in the world right now. How long until teams like China and Finland catch up to you?

Karyn Bye: The other European teams are not far behind. In the past five years, they have made huge strides in their hockey programs.

Guest: I saw Cammi Granato and Sarah Tueting on Letterman, do you have any appearances like that scheduled?

Karyn Bye: Tonight I'm on Live at Five which is a local New York newscast. Yesterday I was on the Today show with Al Roker. Matt Lauer is really cute. There is a possibility of our team being on the Rosie O'Donnell show and Jay Leno sometime in the future.

Guest: What was the most exciting part of the whole Olympic experience for you?

Karyn Bye: No question about it - having the gold medal put around my neck.

Guest: Karyn, everyone in the hockey media seemed to pick the Canadians for the gold medal. Did you and your teammates use that as motivation?

Karyn Bye: We never once doubted our ability to bring home the gold. Going into the Gold Medeal Game, Team USA had more confidence than we've ever had before. Nothin' but gold, Baby!

Guest: I actually played against Cammi when I was little in Mites. How long did you play in boys leagues?

Karyn Bye: I played with the boys from age 7 to age 18.

Guest: What's it like to travel with a group of women for a full year?

Karyn Bye: We definitely got to know each other well...Maybe too well...but it's like having 19 sisters on the team. We're a very close-knit bunch. We have a lot of fun together.

Guest: What's it like to see your face on a Wheaties Box?

Karyn Bye: Unbelievable! I never in my wildest dreams thought I would see my mug on a Wheaties box. It's too bad not all the members could be on the box. (p.s. Please don't draw mustaches on our faces while you eat your breakfast cereal in the morning. Thank you.)

Guest: When will Team USA start practicing for the World Championships? Will it tour like it did before the Olympics?

Karyn Bye: The members of the team will start training on their own some time this summer, and gather as a group in Lake Placid in August for training camp. As for a tour...I don't know.

Guest: How are some of the other girls dealing with not getting as much attention as some of you are?

Karyn Bye: Everyone on this team knows that we all were a part of this gold medal. It doesn't matter how much press any one individual gets. What matters is we did it as a team and we all have a gold medal to show.

Guest: Don Cherry thinks it is wrong for the women to have a male coach, what's your opinion on that?

Karyn Bye: In my opinion, it doesn't matter if we have a male coach or a female coach. We just want the best coach, and that's what we got. Coach Ben Smith is the best.

Guest: Are the memebers of Team USA paid by USA hockey? The Canadian women were paid for being part of Team Canada.

Karyn Bye: Once we were on the team, we received a monthly paycheck from USA Hockey. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough to pay the bills.

Guest: How will you be involved with hockey in the future? Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Karyn Bye: Hopefully, five years from now, I will have my second gold medal, and be pursuing the sport of curling. No, but seriously, you will see me involved in hockey, whether it is coaching or on the marketing side.

Karyn Bye: Thank you for all your questions. I hope my answers were helpful...

Information provided by USA Hockey and NHL.com


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