Senior defenseman Cassie Dunne has a chance of representing the Penn State Women’s Ice Hockey Club on the world stage, as she’s been selected for the U.S. National University Team’s World University Games Evaluation Camp.
The camp will help select the final roster for the biennial women’s hockey tournament at the World University Games, set for January 28 through February 6 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Twenty-eight of the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s top American players, including Dunne, were chosen for evaluation.
Camp opens in Chicago on December 28 in Chicago with an evening practice. The next day will be its busiest, with a morning practice followed by an exhibition game against the noted Chicago Mission U19 AAA team at 4 p.m. central time. After the game, the invitees will board a bus for St. Louis. On December 30, on-ice activities will close with another morning practice in the Gateway to the West followed by a second exhibition game, against Lindenwood University’s NCAA Division I team. Camp officially breaks in the early morning hours of the 31.
For Dunne, a speedy and vocal alternate captain who is also the club’s president, selection for the final team would represent achieving a long-time goal.
“The summer after my sophomore year I worked at Lululemon Athletica in Philadelphia,” she explained. “During my on-boarding experience I went through many training sessions, many of which asked you to think about the vision you have for your life in 20 years and what goals you want to accomplish in the next five, ten or 15 years to get yourself to that life vision. Immediately, I put ‘going to the World University Games’ on my list of goals for the next five years.
“As soon as I received the invitation to camp, I called my parents and my mentor from Lululemon. I was so excited that I could share this news with those people in my life who have supported my goals, especially my athletic ones. It’s an amazing feeling to have one of them at your fingertips.”
This edition of the team will be picked and coached by 1998 Olympic gold medalist Shelley Looney, with USA Hockey’s Katie Holmgren serving as the squad’s general manager.
Dunne recognizes, however, that selection to the camp is not the intended destination, and that at least one more cut from the nine defensemen invited is likely.
“I am so close to reaching my goal,” she explained. “The determination is setting in now more than ever. I plan to prepare myself for camp by training with my team, as well as some extra workouts on my own. Reaching and accomplishing my total goal is just around the corner and I cannot wait to play my heart out for it. My dream of being selected for World University Games has been on my mind since I was a freshman.”