Who is... Brianna Decker?
Brianna Decker’s natural athletic abilities have been amplified by some of the best hockey tutelage the United States has to offer. Her journey to elite women’s hockey started when she enrolled at Minnesota’s Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, aka “The Hogwarts of Hockey,” at 14 years old, and later received a full-ride to play for the University of Wisconsin under head coach, and 1980 Miracle on Ice star forward, Mark Johnson. With Wisconsin, Decker won a national championship and in 2012, led the nation in scoring with 37 goals while winning the highest honor in NCAA women’s hockey, the Patty Kazmaier Award.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Brianna Decker first laced up skates as a three-year-old toddler in an attempt to keep up with her two older brothers, Bryan and Ben. She would watch her brothers play hockey, idolizing them, hoping one day to be on the ice just like them. Decker loved playing all sports, and once one season would end, she eagerly jumped into the next. Wanting to be just like her brothers, hockey was soon a part of Decker’s yearly athletic commitments.
Playing for the U.S. in six World Championship tournaments, Decker helped bring home five golds and one silver. In 2017, Decker put up 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) and was named tournament MVP and Top Forward as the U.S. won their fourth straight gold at worlds.
As a member of the NWHL’s Boston Pride, Decker was named league MVP in back-to-back seasons. With her Boston Pride teammates, Decker won the NWHL’s Isobel Cup – awarded to the top team in the league – in the first year of the NWHL in 2016. In the following season, Decker was the NWHL’s leading scorer with 14 goals and 31 points over 17 games.
For Decker, making the under-18 U.S. team in 2007 gave her the confidence she needed to believe her goal of playing for the United States at an Olympic Games was attainable. She earned her first Women’s World Championship gold medal for Team USA in 2011 when she scored four goals and had seven assists.
Decker holds the University of Wisconsin record for Longest Individual Scoring Streak. Over two seasons, 32 games in all, she amassed 77 points. She also holds the school record for career plus/minus with a +175. Decker sits in second position in the Badger record books in career goals, assists, points, game-winning goals, short-handed goals, shots, and hat tricks; bested only by fellow Team USA linemate and Wisconsin alum, Hilary Knight.
Decker is known as an all-arounder on the ice, who’s reliably in position when her team needs her most. She can shoot, pass, and create scoring opportunities, making her skills invaluable on Team USA’s first line of forwards. Recently, Decker has played on a line which includes her Boston Pride teammate, Hilary Knight and the speedy Kendall Coyne.
"She can score. She's strong and she protects the puck really well. If she goes into a corner and has the puck, she's tenacious. That's tough to play against."
Decker won a silver medal in her first Olympic Games with Team USA in 2014 in Sochi. In five games, Decker scored two goals and added four assists.
Outside the rink
Going to the movies, golfing or indulging in the occasional pedicure or massage are all things Decker does to relax. Another thing she finds therapeutic is simply cleaning around the house, and more specifically, folding laundry – and not just her own – she has been known to gladly fold the laundry of a teammate.
If she were not an athlete, Decker says she’d still be involved in sports, most likely as a coach or working with kids in another mentoring role. It is not surprises then that when she isn’t training for the Olympics, Decker enjoys working with hockey-playing girls in the Boston area, sharing her skills and knowledge as a coach.