Three named to nat’l team for world championships

Dani Cameranesi, Lee Stecklein and Hannah Brandt will play for the U.S.

Grant Donald

Back in November, the Gophers shipped off three players to compete in the Four Nations Cup for the United States national team.

Consequently, Minnesota played its series finale against Bemidji State without three of its best players, resulting in a rare 1-0 loss.

Earlier this week, sophomore Dani Cameranesi, redshirt sophomore Lee Stecklein and junior Hannah Brandt were all named to the U.S. national roster for the International Ice Hockey Federation women’s world championships.

Luckily for head coach Brad Frost and the Gophers, the competition happens a week after the national championship, meaning the players won’t miss any games for Minnesota.

“Certainly, this time of the year we need everybody here,” Frost said. “But it’s a great honor for them, and we would never hold them back.”

The process hasn’t been easy for the three players, as they have attended training camps nearly year-round, with the most recent one coming at the end of December.

“It’s a great feeling and honor to even be named to the roster and to be able to play with players I have looked up to for years,” Cameranesi said. “It’s great to see all the work and camps paying off.”

On Team USA, Cameranesi said she thought she’d be on the same line as Brandt.

The duo has combined for 110 points this year, something that may not have happened if they hadn’t played for the U.S. national team.

“Frost saw us at a [U.S.] camp over the summer and saw that we worked out well together, so he tried it out [for the Gophers],” Cameranesi said. “If we [aren’t together], that’s fine because there [are] a number of great girls that I can be on a line with.”

For Brandt, this competition will be somewhat of a family reunion. The Gophers’ leading scorer said she has some relatives that live in Scandinavia.

“Where we are going is Malmö, [Sweden] which is 30 minutes from Copenhagen, so I’ll probably get to see [my family], which I rarely get to, so it’ll be a good time.” Brandt said.

This isn’t the first time Brandt is playing in Sweden, however, as she competed there for the US under-18 national team.

The forward tallied 10 points in five games, helping her country bring home the gold medal.

But now Brandt and Cameranesi will be competing on the top team, something they have tasted in the past and are now hungry for more.

“[Lee] knows a lot [about playing on the national team], so it’s always nice to have someone you can ask questions about what’s going on,” Brandt said. “We have all been there, so we know a little of what to expect, but it will be nice to have her there.”

However, those questions will have to be tabled until the end of the Gophers season.

Right now, the trio is focused on changing its fortune from the last time the team played Bemidji State.

“I think our whole team has a lot to prove,” Brandt said. “It wasn’t a very good weekend for us.”