TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An announcement on the P.A. system told passengers on airside E some important visitors were about to arrive.
“The United States of America women’s hockey team is now arriving gate E-64,” it said.
With a water spray salute, the gold medal winning women’s hockey team arrived to a terminal full of supporters.
Last week, Team USA defeated rival Canada in a nail-biting shoot out.
Although they’ve had a few days to let it all soak in, team members still find it all overwhelming.
“It’s crazy. It’s been a whirlwind. It’s really fun and for us. It’s exciting to see. Kind of all of America really bought into our team and what happened. We’re just hoping to inspire the future,” said Amanda Kessel.
Passengers aboard the Delta flight from Los Angeles had no idea they’d be flying with Team USA. They posed for pictures with a gold medal.
“They had the entire plane served champagne, those that wanted it. And we did a big salute so I think we really. Delta did a wonderful job celebrating our girls,” said Gretchen Shires.
The team has ties to the Tampa Bay area. They trained in Wesley Chapel for six months.
All of that training paid off.
“It’s been a dream come true. It was all of our dreams to win a gold medal some day,” said Kessel.
The team appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday night, they’ll be honored at the Tampa Bay Lightning game.