This team stood up against gender inequality in sports. Their fight hit home for one girl.
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DICK'S Sporting Goods

When the U.S. Women's Hockey team takes the ice at the 2018 Winter Olympics, their goal may be to win gold, but there's another prize at hand.

They will help girls all over the country, like 14-year-old Nina Herceg, fall in love with their sport.

Herceg has been enamored with hockey players' athleticism and ability ever since her dad started taking her to games when she was little. It didn't take her long to want to lace up her own pair of skates.


"After a little bit of begging, my dad finally let me play hockey," Herceg says. "And I quickly fell in love with the sport."

Herceg on the ice. Photo courtesy of Nina Herceg.

Herceg has now played for six years and is a member of the Long Island Lady Islanders. Thanks to the experience, she's made many good friends and connected with her dad on a deeper level.

She's also learned an important lesson about herself.

"I found out I'm resilient," she says. "It's given me confidence in other areas of my life to try new things ā€” just by learning how to play hockey."

Since the 2006-2007 season, girls and women who registered to play hockey under USA Hockey jumped 32%, from around 50,000 players to 75,832 players.

The uptick of girls playing may have a correlation to the U.S. Women's Hockey Team's recent gender equality advocacy.

It's definitely deeply affected Herceg.

"They're willing [...] to fight for what they knew was right," says Herceg. "It inspired me."

The women's hockey team's activism both on and off the ice has sparked Herceg to continue pushing women's hockey forward.

Last year in Herceg's English class, students were assigned to write a letter to any business or company on a topic they were passionate about. She wrote to NBC Sports about the lack of coverage of women's sports, particularly hockey.

"It would be great if we could get more coverage for the women because it would inspire little girls all over the world to see them on TV and to have them think, 'That could be me someday,'" she says.

While NBC responded to her letter stating they do whatever they can to air women's sports, Herceg has yet to see much change in coverage.

Still, this has only motivated her to continue playing hockey. After all, she's seen the members of the U.S. team persevere despite being treated unfairly and unequally.

Herceg with the rest of the Long Island Lady Islanders. Photo courtesy of Nina Herceg.

With the women's team getting ready to fight their way to the podium, Herceg often wonders what inspires them to keep pushing forward despite the challenges they face as women athletes?

"How do they not get discouraged?" she wonders.

While she may not have the chance to ask the players this question directly, one thing is for certain: With girls being inspired by their example, we will continue to see them breaking down barriers. Because for them, it's more than a sport; it's about carrying on a legacy of women reclaiming spaces that are rightfully theirs.

"They're proving that it's possible for us to chase our dreams," Herceg says.

This story was produced as part of a campaign called "17 Days" with DICK'S Sporting Goods. These stories aim to shine a light on real occurrences of sports bringing people together.

Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVeĀ® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

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Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

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Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

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