GANGNEUNG, South Korea (BP) — Sometimes, Gigi Marvin still feels like the same 11-year-old girl growing up in northern Minnesota who fell in love with the idea of playing hockey in the Olympics.
Maybe that’s why she’s so passionate about RinkRat, a weeklong hockey camp she runs each summer that draws about 170 kids. While they definitely learn about hockey from one of the sport’s most accomplished women, they also encounter Gigi’s unbridled love for the Lord.
“Even though it’s not marketed as, ‘Hey, you’re gonna experience the Lord,’ it’s gonna come out,” Marvin told Baptist Press. “Because my intention is for God to come out in all areas. That’s just how I live life.”
Marvin is making her third Olympics appearance as part of the U.S. women’s hockey team, winning two silver medals along the way.
Growing up with a dad who played hockey professionally and brothers who played hockey, she didn’t have much of a choice when it came to the sport.
“The skates were going on no matter what,” she joked. “But I’m just thankful, because I fell in love with it, and still love it.”
Her Olympic dream began in 1998 when she saw the U.S. women’s hockey team in the Olympics for the first time. Until then, she played with her friends but never gave a lot of thought to her future in the sport. Then the Olympics happened, and the light came on — women’s hockey was “an actual thing,” Marvin said. “I can really do that.”
She grew up in a Christian home in the small town of Warroad, with her family attending church regularly. But it wasn’t until Marvin enrolled at the University of Minnesota and got involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes that she began to see serious growth in her relationship with the Lord.
Through FCA, Marvin encountered people who taught her how to read the Bible and apply it to her life, how to pray and pray for others. That modeling of discipleship helped her realize that devotion to God is not about religion.
“It’s not about anything but having a relationship with God and letting Jesus work through you, letting Him live through you,” she said.
Marvin’s time in Boston as a member of both the Boston Blades and Boston Pride women’s hockey teams has also been instrumental in her growth as a Christian. She’s actively involved in her church when she’s in Boston, and she went through a year-long discipleship training school there that culminated in a mission trip to Morocco.
She’s enthusiastic about how she grew as a Christian through that experience, and she’s equally as enthusiastic about the work she’s doing with children in Minnesota each summer. This year will be the 11th year for Marvin to run the RinkRat hockey camps — each a week long.
What began with a desire for Marvin to teach and share what she’s learned about hockey has grown into something far more meaningful for her. She offers faith and worship nights for her campers and their families. She’s handed out Bibles to her coaches and been able to pray with kids and their parents about various needs.
She loves helping the kids learn what their strengths are. But more than that, she loves helping show them who God is.
“I pray that kids will come and know who God is, and then how much He loves them,” Marvin said. “But then also how He created each one of them with a specific purpose, because knowing your identity in Christ and then letting Him live through you is, I mean, a gift to everyone.”