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'Honest to God Olympic hero'

Date: 3/9/2010

Silver medalist Kacey Bellamy returns to her hometown

March 10, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- 2010 Olympic silver medalist Kacey Bellamy of the United States women's hockey team had only been in her hometown 30 minutes when she arrived at Amelia Park Ice Arena on Sunday.

Hockey lovers of all ages were there to greet the 22-year-old, welcoming her home with great fanfare. State Sen. Michael Knapik and Rep. Donald Humason Jr. were also on hand to deliver proclamations commemorating her efforts; Mayor Daniel Knapik declared March 7 as Kacey Bellamy Day.

"Thank you again for putting Westfield on the map once again," Humason said to Bellamy before a crowd of more than 100 people. "What a great day to come to Westfield and see an honest to God Olympic hero."

Bellamy beamed with excitement and relayed her gratitude. "Everyone has been amazing!" she said in between signing autographs and posing for photos. "Their support means so much to me and I want to give back to them [by being here today]."

Bellamy, a 2009 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, is a first-time Olympian and two-time member of the U.S. women's national team. The defenseman was named one of the team's top three players in 2009.

"It's amazing, spectacular -- all those adjectives," Bellamy's mother, Maura, said of her daughter's homecoming and watching her play in Vancouver. "It was the experience of a lifetime. And to be involved in such an event, she's so proud to have a silver [medal] but to me, she's just my kid."

Bellamy's father, Bob, agreed. He added he never had any aspirations for his children to become Olympians or professional hockey players. His son Rob plays for the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I learned to grow and love the sport with them," Bob said.

Bellamy's sister Lindsey said the arena has become a second home for her and her family.

So many others in attendance echoed Lindsey's sentiments, adding that their love for the sport and aspirations to become Olympians has made life on the ice the norm.

"I want to be just like Kacey," Madison Pelletier, 10, a member of the Junior Falcons U-10 team, said.

When asked about her plans for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Kacey replied she's still itching for the gold.

"It's what I wanted," Kacey said, adding she plans to keep playing while looking for a Division I college coaching job this spring.

But as far as her family and fans are concerned, Lindsey said, "I keep telling her, 'Silver is the new gold.'"