IT HAD been months since Cammi Granato had laced up a pair of skates, years since she'd played in a game, so when she suited up for the International Ice Hockey Federation's alumni game last May, it helped to have a couple of familiar faces—her oldest brother, Tony, and her husband, Ray Ferraro, both former NHL forwards—playing alongside her. "We had so much fun, but it had been a while, and it showed," she says. Still, the most recognized female hockey player in America had two assists in the game held at the world championships in Quebec City.
Three hours earlier, Granato had joined Canada's Geraldine Heaney and Angela James as the first women inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame. Granato captained the U.S. to the gold medal at the Nagano Games in 1998, the first year women skated in the Olympics (with sticks and pads, that is).
The Canadians were clear favorites in Nagano, having beaten the U.S. in the finals of the four previous world championships. But the American women defeated Canada twice—including a 3--1 win in the gold medal game.
Today the U.S.'s most prolific female scorer resides in enemy territory, in Vancouver, with Ray; their 18-month-old son, Riley; and Ray's two sons, Landon and Matt, from a previous marriage. In September she became a partner in BelaHockey, a company making hockey accessories for girls.
Granato, 37, says she's thrilled to focus on her family. Though the day she welcomed Riley into the world has overtaken the day she won gold as her greatest highlight, she admits with a smile, "It's close."