Cameranesi Sets Her Sights On Olympic Dream

By: 
Trish Bradle

uiting up for the red, white and blue in the Olympic Winter Games has always been a dream for Dani Cameranesi. And judging by how far she’s come to be where she is today, she is well on her way to achieving that goal. The Plymouth, Minn., native grew up wanting to be just like her older brother, Tony, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick who plays for the University of Minnesota Duluth. That included shadowing her older brother and doing everything he did, including play hockey. “He probably got a little annoyed with it,” Cameranesi said. “But he was really passionate about hockey and, wanting to be just like him, I fell in love with the game too.” She credits her parents with encouraging her and her siblings, including younger sister, Samantha, to lead an active lifestyle rather than just sit inside and watch television. Cameranesi grew up playing with the boys until she reached the Bantam level. As an eighth grader, she decided she wanted to play girls’ high school hockey, but Wayzata High School didn’t allow underclassmen. Determined, she transferred to The Blake School, who found room for her on their roster. “I knew I wanted to play high school hockey at that age, so I found a place that would allow me to do it,” she said. After high school, she committed to the University of Minnesota and quickly became a vital cog in the Gophers attack, earning National Rookie of the Year honors. Cameranesi notched 101 points during her first two seasons and helped the maroon and gold reach the NCAA title game the past two years. While achieving success on the college stage has been great, going to the Olympics is an ultimate goal for Cameranesi. But just playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team has been “amazing.” “Playing with all the people I looked up to when I was younger and wanted to be like, I’m now playing with and a part of their team,” said the 20-year-old, who has progressed through the USA Hockey player development system starting as a 15-year-old. Along the way she has benefitted by picking the brains of veteran players like Brianna Decker and Meghan Duggan, who have helped her adjust to the faster pace and higher skill level of the international game. Even at a young age, Camer­anesi has already enjoyed a certain level of success, winning a national championship as a freshman with the Gophers and then two weeks later getting to put on the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Malmo, Sweden. And she doesn’t plan to stop there or let anything stand in her way. “Along the way, I think even when people have shot me down, I have found other people who have believed in me,” she said. “I’m just continuing to work on and off the ice and hoping that what I do and how I pursue my dreams will hopefully get me to the Olympics.”

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