Five From URI To Skate For Team USA At World University Games
URI women's hockey player named to historic
Team USA squad for World University Games
Sandwich, Mass. resident to make trip to Turkey
with four Rams who'll skate for USA men
KINGSTON, R.I. – January 18, 2010 – It's not often that college students can say they have been part of a team or group that has made history.
But Justine Ducie, a member of the University of Rhode Island women's hockey team, has been chosen one of 22 Team USA players to compete at the World University Games Jan. 27 through Feb. 6 in Erzurum, Turkey. It will be the first women's squad to represent the United States in the World University Games.
She will make the trip with four URI men who have been selected to play on the Team USA men's squad in Turkey: sophomore Alan Dionne of Scituate, who is making his debut with Team USA and three players who represented URI in the World Games two years ago in China: senior Kyle Krannich of Randolph, N.J., junior Dan Lassik of Garnet Valley, Pa. and Devin Sheehan of Binghamton, N.Y. Krannich was named captain of Team USA and Lassik and Sheehan were named alternate captains of the national team.
Ducie was selected from a pool of 1,300 American Collegiate Hockey Association players. The association represents men's and women's college club hockey programs in the United States.
The Sandwich, Mass. resident and her teammates will compete against other college athletes representing Canada, Slovakia, Finland, Great Britain and host Turkey in an Olympic-style tournament.
“It is a great honor for our program that Justine is representing not only the University but the United States as well,” said Beth McCann, coach of the Rams, who are ranked third nationally by the ACHA. “Justine is a great role model, and she deserves every bit of national recognition as an outstanding student athlete. It is great that we at URI are able to provide an opportunity for talented women to showcase their talents. She's one of the best, and it will be difficult to say goodbye and good luck to a player like Justine. She has been a pleasure to coach and mentor for the past 4 years. It's players like her that keep me and our program going.”
Ducie, a senior majoring in psychology, can't wait for the tourney to begin.
“When I was a young hockey player I always wanted to play in the Olympics,” said the URI captain. “Obviously, this is not the Olympics, but having the opportunity to play on a team that represents the United States is a dream come true. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity.”
The senior forward has had many great hockey experiences, including a trip last season to France and Switzerland with a select team from the ACHA.
“Traveling back overseas to represent the USA this time is so exciting, and I believe it will be the best experience of my hockey career,” Ducie said.
As important as the competition is, she said gaining knowledge of other countries and cultures while in Turkey will also be important.
“I hope to make new friends from all over the country as well as other countries, and have experiences that I will never forget.”
To youngsters who are looking to play hockey in college, Ducie said URI would be a great choice.
“Although URI plays at a club level in the ACHA, it is so much more. Most of my friends from home play at Division 3 schools, and I play a much longer season at URI and travel to many more places,” Ducie said. “During my time at URI, I have traveled all over the USA, as well as France, Switzerland, and now Turkey.”
URI men ready to provide veteran leadership to Team USA
URI captain Kyle Krannich will be looked upon to contribute experience to Team USA, along with alternate captain Dan Lassik and Devin Sheehan. Krannich is a forward who scored three goals and had three assists two years ago in Harbin, China. Lassik, a marketing major and member of URI's Army Reserve Officer Training Corp, had two assists and Sheehan, a supply chain management major, had two goals and an assist. Alan Dionne is the newcomer.
“We have been pretty fortunate with the World Games; we had four players who went to China, four who went to Italy and four now going to Turkey,” said URI men's coach Joe Augustine, whose Rams are ranked seventh nationally.
“It's more of a skating game in Europe, so we are sending four of our best,” Augustine said. “Having four players selected for Team USA is a nice reflection on our program, on the kinds of players we attract. When they go oversees, they represent our country and University with class. That's why Team USA wants them back, because they can count on them on and off the ice.”
Dionne, who played his high school hockey at LaSalle Academy, transferred to URI from Wentworth Institute. One of 400 applicants for Team USA, the sophomore electrical engineering major said he was one of 80 invited to tryouts.
“A week after the tryouts I got the call telling me I was playing. I was speechless.”
He said he is happy to be at URI for academics and hockey. “First of all, the engineering degree at URI carries a lot more weight, and hockey at URI is run like a D1 program.
“Going to Turkey is going to be the highlight of my hockey career,” Dionne said. “At first, I wasn't going to go because I was afraid of missing two weeks of classes. But Vice President (for Student Affairs Thomas) Dougan was very helpful. He told me not to worry about it and he helped me get in touch with my professors. My professors have all been great, telling me to have fun. I have to do some work in advance, but that's OK.
“I've never left the country, so this isn't just about the hockey, it's about the sights, it's about everything. The process was definitely made easier by my three veteran teammates. They helped me all along the way.”
Krannich, the Rams' captain and entrepreneurship management major in the College of Business Administration, wants to come home with a medal this time. “Of course it's an honor just to wear the USA sweater, but two years ago, we were one game away from making the medal round,” Krannich said. “No Team USA team has ever made the medal round at the World Games. It's that the competition is the best you'll ever see. It's great to soak in the sights, but you are there to win games. Our goal is to win the gold medal. It's a matter of just bearing down and becoming a team.”