Representing the American Street Hockey Institute (ASHI) with the values of perseverance and sportsmanship, Karen Levin has masterfully assembled a wondrous career that has cemented her place as one of ball hockey’s ambassadors. A pillar for the US national team, Levin’s dedication and leadership to game and team alike comprise the foundation of her approach to the game, one which has positively shaped the culture of any team whose jersey she wears.
Combining a love of hockey with spectacular stints on the ice and on the slab, Levin has crafted a career that continues to shine brighter with each successive tournament. Having established herself as one of the most accomplished American women in the nascent history of ISBHF women’s competition, Levin provided an integral presence at the 2018 edition of the Masters.
Contested in the subtropical climate of Bermuda, it certainly represented one of the most intriguing venues where Levin brought her terrific talents. With the sunrise providing for a pre-lunch stroll on the North Atlantic Ocean coast, while dusk allowed for indulgences, as game-time was sandwiched in between, the results were memorable gatherings that furthered a strong sense of team-building,
“My favorite part of Masters in Bermuda is the atmosphere created by both the ISBHF, Bermuda Ball Hockey Association, and my teammates. We had the privilege of going to the beach in the morning, playing ball hockey in the afternoons with an ocean backdrop, and drinking Gosling’s rum at night.
This atmosphere and culture of compete hard at hockey, build a community of awesome people, and have fun is what the sport is all about.”
Supplying six points, establishing herself as one of the leading scorers for Team USA Blue, while emerging as one of the top offensive blueliners of the tournament. Of note, she achieved her solid offensive output through a triptych of multi-point games.
Against a second Canadian team representing the hockey hotbed of New Tecumseth, Ontario, Levin racked up a pair of assists in a convincing 7-0 final. Following it up with her first goal of the tournament, along with an assist in a 4-1 win against Team USA Red, the contest evoked strong feelings of national pride for both rosters. The last multi-point effort also involved a goal and an assist, as USA Blue blanked Slovakia by a 7-0 tally, affirming their status as one of the tournament’s elites.
Throughout the tournament, Levin’s productivity on offense was only outmatched by a plethora of praise. Remarking on the essence of teamwork that defined Team USA Blue’s remarkable run in Bermuda, the support and encouragement among all teammates stood as one of the team’s greatest hallmarks,
“One of the things I like most about the Masters team is the leadership on the team. I am privileged to have experience on the national team, but so have most of the women on the Masters team.
We had a team of leaders that understood how to build a positive team community. I still consider myself a student of the sport and I love learning from the captains, role players, goaltenders, and the quiet leaders on our team.
I saw players share supportive words to teammates that made mistakes, teammates that made mistakes but recovered without missing a beat, teammates that never stopped running for a loose ball, and teammates that sacrificed their own playing time for the betterment of the team. I believe I had a leadership role to play in my own way, but I mostly soaked up the leadership of my teammates that have been well respected in this sport for a long time.”
Qualifying for the gold medal game for the third consecutive time, the US challenged their Canadian archrivals once again, adding a sense of continuity to tournament lore. Despite the golden ambitions eluding a highly talented US team, as the two-time defending champion Canadians emerged victorious, the bigger picture revealed a highly respectable achievement.
Taking into account that the US has captured a silver medal at the 2017 ISBHF World Championships, the 2018 Masters allowed for the historic feat of three consecutive podium finishes for the US women in international competition. The euphoric achievement is poised to provide an influx of enthusiasm heading into next year’s ISBHF World Championships in Kolsice, Slovakia.
“Winning a medal is an incredibly special moment. It means a lot to play with an amazing group of women and capture silver. I value every opportunity I have to put on a Team USA jersey and being able to bring home a medal for Team USA is really humbling.”
Although the expectation of gold was certainly attainable. Understandably, the milestone of another medal represents a point of pride for Levin and her teammates, For Levin, whose tireless efforts during the program’s early years, are yielding positive results.
Recognized as the Best Defender of the 2018 Masters, Levin’s haul of hockey hardware solidified her standing as both role model and leader for the American Street Hockey Institute, while commemorating a strong showing for USA Blue, which also resulted in teammate Cherie Stewart garnering the scoring title and the Tournament MVP Award.
Worth noting, Levin, along with long-time Team USA stalwart Alessandra Glista, they were among the wondrous women that wore the Stars and Stripes thrice in Masters play. As a side note, Cherie Stewart, a long-time teammate of Levin in ISBHF Worlds play, she enjoyed her Masters debut this year. With four players on this year’s Masters team making their international debuts, it was the kind of achievement that provided Levin with gratification, finding admiration in their commitment.
Considering that several of the careers of the women on Team USA have spanned over a decade, their loyalty represents a significant step forward in the game’s evolution. The assiduous talents of Levin’s teammates embody what she enjoys most about the game.
“I am incredibly proud of the dedication of my teammates that have been involved in the game for years. The women on my team play this game for love of the sport and their teammates.
Their passion and dedication paved the way for the USA Women to take home silver in Pardubice last year. Our medal is a result of their hard work, time away from their families, and their unending dedication to the sport of ball hockey in the US.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo Credit: Paul Paradine