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Ben Smith (ice hockey)

Hockey smile, without gaps U.S. women: They brush off verbal poke checks of succeeding in a tamer game than their male counterparts. Plus, "we still have our teeth."

They are used to being the object of curiosity, having played that role for most of their lives. They are used to being asked about their game, and how it differs from the hockey being played in leagues from boys to men.

The 20 players on the 1998 U.S. Olympic women's hockey team wear pads on their shoulders, not chips. They don't apologize for rules that prohibit body-checking or for being more balletic and less bullying than their male counterparts.

"People may have their perceptions about how hockey should be played and how hockey players don't have any teeth," said Cammi Granato, a six-time member of the U.S. national team. "That may have been the old-time...