Exclusive with Caitlin Cahow ʼ03
Exclusive with Caitlin Cahow ʼ03
Exclusive with Caitlin Cahow ʼ03
Cahow represented the U.S. National Team at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics in Torino and Vancouver, respectively.
Caitlin Cahow ’03 is a former Olympic ice hockey player from New Haven, Connecticut. At Hotchkiss, she played soccer, field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse. She went on to play ice hockey at Harvard University.
Ms. Cahow’s won a bronze medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games with the U.S. Women’s National Team and contributed to the team’s gold medal victories at the 2008, 2009, and 2011 IIHF World Women’s Championships. Ms. Cahow has earned a number of individual honors, including the 2008 ECAC Tournament Most Valuable Player award and the 2008 USA Hockey Women’s Player of the Year award. She earned a law degree from Boston College in 2013 and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois, where she works as a bankruptcy lawyer for Jones Day. She also serves as a member of the USA Hockey Board of Directors.
Ms. Cahow, who is openly lesbian, made headlines when then-President Barack Obama selected her as part of the country’s delegation to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Her inclusion and feature as a representative of the U.S. delegation at the closing ceremony drew attention to discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community in Russia. Staff writer Jackson Grace ’26 sat down with Ms. Cahow to discuss her time at Hotchkiss, hockey career, and life after retiring from the sport in 2013.
Jackson Grace ’26: How would you describe your time at Hotchkiss?
Caitlin Cahow ’03: I was fortunate to be able to go to Hotchkiss, a place that has unbelievable resources. The people, all the teachers and staff, everyone was just completely devoted to making a great experience for all the students. Some of the teachers I met here have become lifelong mentors and my fellow students became lifelong friends.
JG: What is your favorite memory of your time at the school? CC: Taft Day when I played soccer will always be a core memory. But honestly, and this is going to sound funny coming from someone who played sports, I loved doing theater. Some of my happiest memories from Hotchkiss were putting on productions with theatre groups.
JG: How do you think hockey at the school prepared you for playing in college and at the Olympic level?
CC: One of the reasons that I wanted to go to Hotchkiss was because the school had a really great hockey program. I knew a number of players who were either there or who were going. It was really exciting to get the opportunity to play with those players every single day in a program that was focused on getting the best out of the players. The prep school league was some of the best hockey around at that time. We didn’t have opportunities for girls in public high schools near me [in New Haven] when I was growing up. So it was an incredible opportunity for me to be able to go to Hotchkiss and be able to play a full season against great players and have so much support from the school for girls’ hockey. It really is the reason that I ended up being able to play collegiately, because I was able to play at such a high level throughout high school.
JG: Was going to college or to the Olympics to play hockey always your goal?
CC: Something really important happened in 1998 for me – I was 13, right when there was the first women’s Olympics team for hockey. Immediately I thought, that’s what I want to do. When you’re that age, it’s more of a dream than a goal. But, you know, one of the players on the Olympic team actually was from Choate; she had just graduated and was starting at Harvard. She was like 18 when she played in that first Olympics. So yeah, it was a dream. But at the same time I could see that there was a future in hockey, not only playing in college but also playing beyond. So that was a really exciting time for me. That was definitely one of those things that I would put in the dream bucket as far as playing collegiate hockey, I definitely knew that I wanted to do that. Professionally, what’s happening in women’s hockey right now is awesome. I wish that it had happened 20 years ago, because now there’s a real opportunity to play professional hockey for women. There just wasn’t the same opportunity when I was coming up. For me, playing in college and then maybe making it to the national team and playing in the Olympics, that was like the highest you could possibly go. Definitely going to Hotchkiss put me in a place where I could start thinking about those two options as real goals rather than just dreams.
JG: What have been some of the highlights of your hockey career?
CC: The opportunity to wear the USA jersey is one of the things that I’m absolutely the most proud of in my whole life. It was just such an incredible experience to be able to represent my country on the world stage and do it at the Olympics. That was such a memorable time in my hockey career, for sure. Being able to pinpoint exactly when I was the best I would ever be at something is pretty cool – to be able to say, I worked really, really hard to get to be the best I could possibly be.
JG: What is your current role with U.S.A. Hockey [the national governing body for hockey at the youth and amateur levels?
CC: For the last number of years, I’ve been an athlete representative to the USA Hockey board of directors. Now I’m an athlete representative to the USA Hockey Congress. One of the things that I’m really proud of is that I sit on the legal council, in part because I’m a lawyer. That’s been a wonderful experience, to be able to shift gears in my life and pursue something that’s totally different from hockey. I was not really expecting that there would be an overlap, but now here I’m able to give back to USA Hockey. So things have kind of come full circle to me and I love that.
JG: What advice do you have for women who want to go to the next level in hockey?
CC: The number one thing is just knowing how to work really hard, being determined to get the job done and get it done right. Your drive has to be incessant, and you have to be very focused on getting better every single day. If you are of a mindset that whatever you’re going to do, you’re going to go at it 100 miles an hour, then I think you’re likely to be successful in pretty much anything that you try. But also there’s something to be said about having downtime and taking time to just be a kid and hang out with your friends and enjoy
Jackson Grace is a staff writer for The Record.