Michigan native Abby Roque grateful for her "unconventional hockey journey" that led her to Team USA

Abby Roque
Posted at 9:03 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 21:04:41-05

Forward Abby Roque is making her Olympic debut with USA Hockey in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. She is one of two Michigan natives on the USA's roster and said she's excited and ready to compete for a gold medal. She is one of eight first-time Olympians on the 2022 roster.

Roque, raised in Sault Ste. Marie, is the daughter of Jim Roque who was the head hockey coach at Lake Superior State University. It was her dad who got her on skates in their backyard as a child, who welcomed her to the rink on campus as a child, and supported her journey from boys' high school hockey to NCAA division-I, and ultimately, to the Olympics. Roque will be the first Indigenous women's hockey player to compete for Team USA.

Abby Roque said her journey in hockey is unconventional, but one she is grateful for. When she was coming up in the sport, she didn't have the competitive opportunities that females do now, so it was a better fit for her to play boys hockey. She was the first female hockey player at Sault Ste. Marie High School and was coached by John Ferroni. Roque didn't even have access to a female lockerroom since she was the only girl, so Ferroni built her a facility of her own.

From Sault Ste. Marie, Roque went on to achieve her dream of playing NCAA division-I hockey at the University of Wisconsin. Her four year career resulted in a national championship title in 2019. After college, Roque climbed the ranks to make it to the roster for USA Hockey ahead of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, China.

Roque said she never really realized just how good at hockey she really was, but rather that she played hockey because she loved the game. As she grew and developed within the sport, she realized her dreams became achievable goals which has led her to the Olympics.

Roque's father is a Canadian citizen, so Abby has dual citizenship. When going through tryouts for the Olympic programs, she had the choice to play for Team USA or Team Canada and she said that it was a "no-brainer" to play for the American team.

Ahead of the Olympics, Roque laughed and said that the one thing she truly wanted to come home with was a gold medal. Aside from the hardware, she said she wants to remember to take the Olympics as an experience, rather than just hockey. She realizes the rarity of making it that far in the game of hockey and just what it means to be competing against and alongside of the very best talent in the game, across the world.