Earlier this week, the roster was announced for the USA Hockey Women’s Winter Training Camp and there wasn’t much surprise that goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie was one of the elite goaltenders invited to camp.
Amsley-Benzie has earned her opportunity and continues to transition after her standout career at the University of North Dakota. It’s there that she has had plenty of help thanks to a pair of two-time Olympic silver medalist sisters.
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando are helping Amsley-Benzie make the adjustment to life with the Minnesota Whitecaps.
“We always joke around and I call them my moms because they take care of me,” Amsley-Benzie said. “But it’s been awesome and I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without them. It’s nice to have them pushing me both on and off the ice.”
The transition has been easier for Amsley-Benzie with her friends by her side. The group lifts daily in the Grand Forks area and conducts on-ice workouts every other day, focusing on drills geared towards goaltending and skating.
“It has been good having Jocelyne and Monique with me to make it a little easier coming out of college,” Amsley-Benzie said. “It’s definitely different, but I had a nice transition over the summer when I started training with Jocelyne and Monique. It’s about focusing on what you need every day to get better.”
Amsley-Benzie, a Warroad, Minnesota native, recently had her first experience with the U.S. National Women’s Team, participating in the 2016 Four Nations Cup in Finland. She dressed, but didn’t play, which was OK for Amsley-Benzie, who traveled overseas for the first time.
“It was definitely a different experience, but it was good just seeing a new culture, traveling and getting together with the girls,” Amsley-Benzie said. “It was just so fun getting to know everybody.”
But Amsley-Benzie isn’t satisfied. She worked throughout her collegiate career to play for the U.S. National Women’s Team and dreamed her whole life of playing professional hockey.
“It has definitely been a long journey and it’s exciting to see all the hard work paying off,” Amsley-Benzie said. “It has been a long road, but it has been fun.”
When she was in first grade, Amsley-Benzie begged her mother Kris to be a goaltender, but her mom insisted she learn how to skate. Four years later, her mom finally allowed her to play net.
“I always wanted to be a goalie,” Amsley-Benzie said. “I guess you just have it in you. My mom always said the goalie has to be the best skater on the team, so she made me skate before she let me put the pads on.”
It led to a standout career at North Dakota.
Amsley-Benzie finished her career with all of the school’s goaltending records, including games played (111), wins (67), goals-against average (1.69), save percentage (.929) and shutouts with 22.
“I loved every minute of it,” Amsley-Benzie said. “They offered me so much, not even on the ice, but also off the ice. I owe a lot to where I’m at today because of them. It was a long road, and a fun one, and I wouldn’t trade any of it.”
Amsley-Benzie, who is finishing a master’s degree at North Dakota in chemical engineering, is a two-time top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. She is the first North Dakota goaltender to earn All-American honors, and in 2016, she was the only goalie in the nation to defeat two No. 1-ranked teams. A year earlier, she’d recorded the best single season in program history.
“It’s such an honor,” Amsley-Benzie said. “From Day 1, my goal was to be an All-American and one of the top players in the country, and I give a lot of credit to my team because I wouldn’t be where I am without my teammates.”
Amsley-Benzie’s wants to focus on hockey starting next week with the intent of earning a spot on the roster for a pair of upcoming games against Canada. Her long-term goal is making the IIHF Women’s World Championship roster and an eye towards the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“It has been my dream to be an Olympian, so that’s what I’m focusing on right now,” Amsley-Benzie said. “I just plan to show up, work hard, do my best and leave it all out there, and whatever happens will happen.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.