Net Gains

Competition And Camaraderie On Display As National Team Vets And Hopefuls Come Together To Hone Their Skills
Mae Divinski

It's no secret the pride and passion that exists within the USA Hockey goalie nation, and for three days in April, the goaltenders of the U.S. Women's National Team Program took Blaine, Minn., by storm to further foster their already considerable skills.

The development camp roster featured seasoned veterans like Olympic gold-medalists Maddie Rooney and Nicole Hensley side by side with rising stars like Josie Bothun and Abbey Levy. Having wide-eyed rookies train teaming up with established pros not only brought out the best in each goalie's competitive spirit but provided peer-to-peer collaboration that helps everyone in the end.

"For me, these goalie camps are extremely important when it comes to pushing you to be a better goaltender and providing you the opportunity to take a step back and assess what it is you need to continue to improve on to be the best for your team," said Alex Cavallini, an Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion. 

"As a veteran goalie in the program, I try to be a mentor to the younger goalies because I was fortunate to have great mentors when I was coming up through the program. I was able to watch and ask questions from goaltenders like Jessie Vetter, Molly Schaus, and Brianne McLaughlin and to me those are invaluable experiences to have growing up.

Among the main takeaways from the three-day camp were how to sharpen cognitive skills with a pre- and post-game/practice mental checklist to retain as much information as possible after sessions; and the importance of always being a student of the game so when the athletes are away from the team, they can act as their coach.

But the ultimate goal for each netminder is to always perform at their best when wearing the red, white, and blue on the international stage. 

To raise the level of competition during the camp, talented shooters like Hilary Knight, Abby Roque and Dani Cameranesi stayed back after the U.S. Women's National Team evaluation camp ended to help their teammates elevate their game even further. 

"These events are always a highlight on everyone's calendar due to the fact that so many like minds can spend a few days together sharing their love for the position and their love for representing their country on the world's biggest stage," said Steve Thompson, ADM manager of goaltending for USA Hockey.

"We shared with them many new tools on how to evaluate their own play as well as ways to learn from other goalies to help them continue on their path of becoming the best goalies in the world." 




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