WESTFIELD – After an unprecedented run as an Olympic Women’s Hockey defenseman for Team U.S.A., Westfield native Kacey Bellamy has decided to hang up her skates.
“It’s something I thought about the last couple years,” Bellamy said about her recent retirement announcement. “Physically I feel like I put everything into this sport helping continue to grow the game and keep being an inspiration for young girls. …I’m definitely ready for the next chapter.”
Bellamy’s career beginnings coincided with the birth of Amelia Park Arena. From the Westfield Youth Hockey Association to the Springfield Pics to Berkshire School to the University of New Hampshire, the beloved gold medalist left her mark everywhere she played.
At Berkshire School, a prep school in Sheffield, she racked up 30 goals and 80 assists en route to becoming the Berkshire’s Female Athlete of the Year her junior and senior seasons. She ranks third all-time at UNH in career points by a defenseman.
Bellamy served as defenseman for the Women’s National Ice Hockey Team in a record three straight Olympics (2010, ’14, ’18).
In 2010 and 2014, Canada defeated the United States in the gold medal game. That second straight defeat proved to be the most devastating as Team USA wasted a 2-0 lead, falling 3-2 in overtime.
“That 2014 gold medal game was such a heartbreaking loss,” Bellamy said. “Then it was ‘what do we need to do over the next four years?’ We changed our mindset … and totally flipped our program mentally, physically.”
All of the hard work finally paid off in 2018 when Team USA defeated Canada, 3-2, in a shootout to win the gold medal in Gangneung, South Korea.
“It was nice to come out of 2018 with a gold medal knowing all that work was worth it,” Bellamy said.
In addition to becoming a gold medalist, Bellamy won two Clarkson Cups (2013, ’15) as a member of the Boston Blades and an Isobel Cup for the National Women’s Hockey League’s Boston Pride in 2015-16. Bellamy, who also coached Merrimac in 2014 and 2015, is not ruling out a return as a coach.
“I want to try to make a difference in another athlete’s life who is developing in college,” Bellamy said. “Right now, I am keeping my options open.”
Bellamy acknowledged her supporters, all of the coaches who made an impact in her life and offered a few words of encouragement for young female skaters.
“Do what you love,” Bellamy said. “That is the most important thing. That’s why I stayed in it so long, and as a female, trust the process.”