Camp Package: Steady As She Goes

U.S. National Team Player Kelley Steadman Transitions From Camper To Coach
Jessi Pierce

Kelley Steadman’s nickname at her first USA Hockey Player Development Camp was “Celly.” Not because she had a unique on-ice goal celebration, but because as a 14-year-old in 2004, she was one of the fortunate few to be armed with her mom’s cellphone.

“It wasn’t the greatest nickname and I don’t hear it too much, but it was fun back then,” the 26-year-old former U.S. Women’s National Team player said with a laugh.

“It’s one of those memories and a part of that friendship you built at camp that you don’t forget.”

Steadman’s nickname isn’t the only thing that’s changed since her time as a camper. After returning as a skills coach for the 2016 Girls’ 15 Player Development Camp in St. Cloud, Minn., Steadman has seen firsthand how advanced today’s players have become.

“I just remember what a great experience it was getting to play with some really talented girls across the country,” she recalled. “Now, as I watch these girls out here, I think they are even more talented than we were.”

Four years of development camps were major stepping-stones for Steadman’s game. The Plattsburgh, N.Y., native’s scoring prowess during her time at Mercyhurst University led her to be named to two gold-medal winning U.S. Women’s World Championship teams.

“When I was younger, I didn’t really know what it took to get to that next level. These camps were great in helping that, and now they are even better as the girls’ game has evolved as a whole.”

And while Steadman’s resume is unique, there’s no question of the importance that these camps hold for players of the future.

“I think over the last couple of years I’ve realized how important it is for us to come to these types of [camps] and help grow the game,” said Steadman, who was a part-time player last season with the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League.

“[I’ve talked] to everybody a little bit about our team mantra, what it means to be a part of USA Hockey and what it means for them as well. They’re a part of it, even if they are only here for this one camp.

“I just try to remind them that they are so lucky to be here and it’s just a great opportunity for them to grow.”



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