John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports
BLAINE, Minn. — One day in early December, two months before the 2022 Winter Olympics, the U.S. women’s national hockey team hits the ice for practice with a purpose: have fun. A playlist of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and other holiday classics blares over the rink speakers. A camera crew from NBC is on hand to capture the scene, as are several GoPros mounted atop Team USA’s helmets. During a 3-on-0 drill, players failing to score must stop, drop and log-roll as a pseudo-punishment, after which everyone inevitably pops up covered in snow and smiling.