The Olympic women’s hockey tournament began Thursday in Beijing, with two of the competition’s top stars suffering potentially tournament-ending injuries in the first few games.
Team USA’s Brianna Decker had to be stretchered off the ice after she got tangled up with Finnish defender Ronja Savolainen behind the Finnish net in the opening period. Due to a lack of fans in attendance, Decker’s screams could be heard through the broadcast.
“I think it was a pretty sickening moment,” teammate Amanda Kessel told NBC after the first period.
One of the top players in the world, Decker is an assistant captain for Team USA in her third Olympics. Four years ago, she led the U.S. with three assists in five games en route to winning the gold medal.
On the broadcast, it was announced that Decker would not return due to a lower-body injury. Team USA, which defeated Finland 5-2 in the opener, has yet to provide a further update on Decker’s condition, though she was seen in a boot and walking with crutches after the game.
Decker seen in shorts, crutches, and a boot. #Beijing2022— Erica L. Ayala 💪🏽 (@elindsay08) February 3, 2022
Decker seen in shorts, crutches, and a boot. #Beijing2022
In an earlier game Thursday, Mélodie Daoust, a veteran forward for Canada, suffered a collision with Swiss defenseman Sarah Forester in the second period. Slow to get up, Daoust skated slowly to the bench while holding her right arm and did not return.
Later on, Hockey Canada provided an update on the forward: “She is resting and continues to be assessed by our medical teams. No further details as to her status for the next game.”
If Daoust’s injury keeps her sidelined, it would be a big loss for Canada. The 30-year-old was the tournament MVP of the 2018 Games in PyeongChang after recording seven points on three goals during Canada’s silver-medal run. She was also the MVP of the 2021 World Championships.
Despite being shorthanded, Canada took care of business on Thursday, demolishing Switzerland 12-1.