As one of the national programs on the rise in women’s ball hockey, Team USA is developing an exciting crop of talent that should herald an exciting future ahead. Among them is Danielle Strohmier, a 21-year old that is versatile enough to compete on both offense and defense.
Majoring in Business Communications at Trinity Christian College, the Marist High School grad holds an extensive hockey background. In addition to seven years on the ice, Strohmier has played dek/street hockey for an impressive 16 years. Currently a member of the Chicago Lady Cobras tournament team, other teams that she has competed with include the likes of the Andrew Rattlers, the Kankakee Novas and the Romeoville Rampage.
Of all the teams Strohmier has played for, the prestige of playing for the US national team was one that signified a remarkable milestone in her flourishing career. Making her international debut at the 2015 ISBHF World Championships in Zug, Switzerland, she would log her first goal as a member of the US team in a commanding 8-0 win against Great Britain, the fifth goal of the game for the US.
Earning the assists on the landmark goal was Pam Bilger. Before tournament’s end, Strohmier would find the back of the net one more time, contributing to a 6-2 win against Team Italia.
“The entire experience was completely surreal. Being able to participate in something so much bigger than myself was such an awarding experience. The weight of it all did not hit me until I saw the immensity of the rink and all the different countries participating.
I just remember sitting there absorbing the fact that I was in another country to play hockey, on behalf of the USA. It was an exhilarating yet daunting revelation for me.”
Hailing from Alsip, Illinois, Strohmier was not the only resident of the state to don the US colors in Zug. Among the competitors that she had chance to play alongside was Karen Levin. A native of Skokie, Illinois, the 29-year old Levin competed in NCAA women’s ice hockey at Middlebury College, accumulating 100 career points.
In the aftermath of Zug, Levin served as the head coach for a group of Team USA alumnae participating at the World Outdoor Ball Hockey Championships in Barrie, Ontario, Canada from September 26-28, 2015. Her strong leadership skills made an impression on Strohmier,
“Funny enough, I met Karen through the USA program and am extremely grateful I did. She is such a solid player who always has equally solid advice to give. That is something I really enjoy about her. She is very gifted at noticing and communicating things that you can do better as a player.”
Also joining Strohmier on the US roster was Chicago Ridge resident and Lady Cobras teammate Eileen Meslar. Of note, the Lady Cobras were formed in 2013 as a competing team at the Womens IDTA/ASHI US Nationals in Leominster, Massachusetts.
Since then, the team has provided a home for Midwest ball hockey players, allowing them the chance to participate in competitive play, which has included the contributions of Strohmier and Meslar. The chance to have a familiar face on the US roster in Meslar enabled a much more enjoyable transition to international play,
“It is always nice to have some familiarity on a team. So I felt very fortunate that I was able to share the experience with my good friend Eileen. She was pretty much my second mom throughout the tournament. Whether it was making sure she was equipped with bandages and Advil for scrapes and aches, or having enough trail mix to keep us fed for a month, she was on it.”
While 2015 has represented a landmark year for Strohmier, including her inaugural season with Team USA, it has also been one composed of personal and competitive growth. Reflecting on such an eventful time with great pride, she does so incorporating maturity, displaying a willingness to learn and the desire to reach for even greater potential,
“I would have to say that one of my favorite parts of the whole process was playing with and against such high-caliber players. It is not only fun, but it also pushes you to do better and work harder in order to benefit your team as a whole.
The one lesson I learned while playing was that it is absolutely crucial for a team to work as a unit because at the end of the day any team can be beat, including your own.”
Images obtained from: http://zug2015.com/en/teams/women/group-5/usa-united-states/ and http://chicagoladycobras.wix.com/chicagoladycobras#!players/cbky
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”