For probably the 1,000th time since Emily Pfalzer won Olympic gold last month, someone asked her to show off the medal. She was then asked if she ever tires of hearing that.
"No, not at all," she said with a smile Saturday. "It's fun to share."
Pfalzer and the U.S. women's hockey team have certainly done their part to share the Olympic experience. They've been on television with Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon, been feted at NHL games, traveled to the nation's capital and even watched Serena and Venus Williams play tennis.
On Saturday, Pfalzer started her homecoming.
The Getzville native dropped the ceremonial faceoff for the Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks in KeyBank Center. She is going to repeat the feat for the Buffalo Beauts before their Saturday evening playoff game in HarborCenter. She'll be in Sunday's St. Patrick's Day parade with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
"I'm so happy to come home," said Pfalzer, who flew in from Florida on Friday night. "It's been insane. We came from South Korea to L.A., then we went back to Tampa, where we've been training all year, and then we went to Washington D.C. and then New York and spent some time there.
"Everything's been so incredible."
The U.S. women are riding the momentum from a scintillating shootout victory over Canada in the Olympic gold-medal game in South Korea. They're relishing the honors they deserve.
"We just worked so hard to win the gold medal, and I'm just kind of taking it all in right now," the 24-year-old said.
Pfalzer isn't sure how long she'll spend in Buffalo, but she plans to make a few more appearances with the medal. One of the stops will be Nichols School, which she graduated from in 2011.
"Nichols has been amazing to me," she said. "I was so fortunate to have gone there academically and athletically. I love Nichols, and they've supported me all along the way."
She wants to give back by inspiring girls across the country to lace up the skates and strive to give their best.
"I hope it inspires young girls to play the sport we love and to continue playing and to dream big," Pfalzer said. "Just don't let anyone tell you you can't do anything and keep working hard and make sure you have fun."
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 17, 2018
Pfalzer had fun with the faceoff, dropping the puck for the Sabres' Jack Eichel and the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane – fellow USA Hockey representatives. Pfalzer's older brother, Matt, played youth hockey with Kane in Buffalo. Emily Pfazler, a 5-foot-2, 125-pound defenseman, has modeled parts of her game after the 5-11, 177-pound Kane.
"I love watching him," she said. "He's a smaller player, so am I, so he was always someone I looked up to on the ice."
After helping the United States win gold, Pfalzer is the one who's being looked up to across the country.
"It gives me chills the way those women played in the Olympics and representing all of us here back home," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "It was exciting to see them, and now they're on their tour sharing their experiences."
Story topics: Emily Pfalzer