Gigi Marvin returns to the Boston Pride

The Olympic gold medalist is coming back to play in the city that she loves.

This summer women’s hockey fans have been collectively crossing names off of a checklist in their heads each time a member of Team USA’s gold medal winning roster from the Pyeongchang Olympics signs a contract. Today, we can all scratch off another big name. Gigi Marvin is returning to the Boston Pride to play her third season of NWHL hockey.

Marvin was born in Warroad, Minnesota, and she played with the Minnesota Whitecaps during the 2010-11 season. But for Marvin, there was never any doubt about where she wanted to play after she won gold in Pyeongchang. She wants to be in Boston.

“I always knew I wanted to play,” Marvin told The Ice Garden. “I was praying about which team I wanted to go to and where to live, and I just always felt Boston. I love the church community, and since I’ve been in Florida with the national team I’ve been gone for about a year and a half.

“I loved playing at Warrior Rink; a lot of my friends were able to come and they’re awesome. They like to cheer and support our team. And, obviously, knowing who some of my teammates would be — I have skated with quite a few of them and I love their friendships and [having] them as teammates. It’s going to be fun to compete with those guys again.”

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Although Marvin loves Minnesota and still calls it home, Boston is the better fit for her on and off the ice. Returning to the Pride means she will reunite Paul Mara, who was an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2018 Olympics. It also means spending more time in a church community that Marvin clearly treasures.

In her first two seasons of NWHL hockey Marvin was a foundational member of the Pride’s blue line. She put up back-to-back 14 point seasons and established herself as one of the league’s premier offensive defenders. But in Pyeongchang Marvin moved up from the blue line and played center as Team USA. It didn’t take long for the national team veteran to fall in love with her new role and new position. She’s hoping she’ll get to keep playing forward in Boston.

“Knowing my history, I’m sure I’ll be everywhere, you never know to be honest,” Marvin joked. “But I’m really excited to be playing forward. I had a blast in Pyeongchang playing at forward and playing center. We had the most fun and that just goes to show that the team that we had was unbelievable; some of the strongest women I’ve ever been around. To have that much fun playing hockey, and to continue it playing with the Boston Pride will be awesome.”

The idea of playing forward still makes the three-time Olympic medalist smile and laugh. She joked that some of her friends who don’t understand the finer points of hockey have been confused about her skating backwards a lot less than she used to. But Marvin proved her versatility at the Olympics. In addition to scoring a crucial opening goal in the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada, Marvin scored two goals and picked up an assist in five games in the Olympic tournament. There’s no doubt about it; Marvin can do it all.

Marvin plans to attend Team USA’s upcoming camp and will be trying out for Four Nations with hopes to playing for the U.S. at the 2019 Women’s World Championship. She may be 31, but the University of Minnesota alumna skates just as swiftly as she always has.

“I had so much fun in Korea — and you know I’m only 31! Everyone always says, ‘Oh, you’re the oldest on the team.’ But, hey, it’s only 31. You look at Serena Williams who won a grand slam at the age of 36 and, man, that’s in the distance. So you never know. I’m excited to come back and play and see what happens. I have a lot of joy still. I obviously love skating, but I also love everything that comes with it.”

The Pride have added a lot of new names to the team this offseason, but there are also plenty of faces that will be familiar to Marvin. She’s reuniting with fellow Olympians Amanda Pelkey and Haley Skarupa as well as fellow founding members of the Pride Alyssa Gagliardi, Emily Field, and Jillian Dempsey.

With Marvin signed the Pride now have sixteen skaters signed for the 2018-19 season; that’s three forward lines, and three d-pairs with a spare defender. With Marvin back in the fold — regardless of what position she’ll be playing — the Pride once again look like a force to be reckoned with.