The U.S. Women’s National Team hit the ice this week in East Meadow, New York and is training for the Four Nations Cup. Three members of the U.S. Women’s Under-18 National Team, Cayla Barnes, Taylor Heise and Grace Zumwinkle, are also participating in the camp and have more than held their own by all accounts.
“The three girls have done a great job this week and really soaked it all in,” said Ken Klee, head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. “They have helped push our team to get them ready for next week. Overall, they worked hard and really fit in with the older girls. They have not looked out of place which is encouraging for the future of the program.”
In recent years, the women’s program has explored several ways to involve the younger players with those at the national team level to help guide the U18 program and teach those in the player pool the intricacies in several areas of training, including nutrition, strength and condition and mental skills.
“It’s a vital step in the progression and training of players in our U18 program,” said Reagan Carey, director of women’s hockey at USA Hockey. “Not only does this help the participating players advance their game, but it allows some of them to take on a leadership role and bring back what they have learned to some of their teammates.”
In addition to practicing with the national team, Barnes and Heise were able to play an exhibition game with the national team last night as part of a tune-up game against a local boys U16 team.
The national team will look to defend it's title at the Four Nations Cup knowing that the future is bright with the next generation of players learning and knocking at the door for future Team USA success.