Women’s Division General Manager Jason Kelly, along with Assistant General Manager Angelo Terrana, would like to announce the 4 outstanding women chosen to be the Captains for Women’s Team USA Red at the 2016 ISBHF Masters World Ball Hockey Championships.  The tournament takes place June 1-6 in beautiful Banff, Alberta, Canada.  As they did in the 2014 Masters Championships in Tampa, the USA is sending two Women’s Masters Team USA squads, a Red team and a Blue team.

The four captains are:

Erica Bankowski, Captain, Chicago, IL ericabankowski

Barbara Liesenfeld, Asst. Captain, Olney, MDbarbaraleisenfeld

Robin Driscoll, Asst. Captain, Wendell, MARobinDriscoll2

Beth Penfield, Asst. Captain, Washington, DCbethpenfield

We asked each captain to describe their feelings when they learned they were selected to serve their team as a Captain:

Erica Bankowski: “Being named Captain of Team USA is an obvious honor, but it is also a challenge. As Captain, I am expected to be an example, a cheerleader, a friend, a mentor, a resource, a motivator, a mediator, and the hardest working and best-prepared hockey player I can be. The women on this team are special and I look forward to learning from them and sharing this adventure. I am thrilled and up to the challenge associated with donning a USA jersey, representing our country, and being an ambassador for our sport.”

Barbara Leisenfeld: “I am extremely honored to have been selected as an assistant captain of Masters Red.  What flattered me the most was when I was told that the selection was based not simply on skill level, but on personality and character.  I’m pleased that those things are highly regarded by the coaching staff and even more so that they found me to be a good fit for the position.”

Robin Driscoll:  “To be chosen to represent our country, and participate in something this extraordinary, is a great honor,  There is nothing to compare to standing, tired and sweating, and singing the national anthem with your teammates after giving it your all.  To lead the outstanding, dedicated  women of Team Red, as an Assistant Captain, is an even greater distinction. It inspires me, to inspire us all, to attain a medal.”

Beth Penfield:  “I am thrilled to serve as an assistant captain of such a great group of strong and talented women. This experience is truly amazing – to come together from our regular lives and various towns and cities to play the sport we love on this grand stage is something we could only dream of. I truly value being part of this team and to be able to be a leader is an honor.”

GM Jason Kelly had this say about these 4 amazing women:

“Erica is a natural leader, has a ton of hockey experience, is extremely organized and plays at a high skill level.  She is one of those people where fun, chaos and excitement seem to follow her no matter what she does.  We are thrilled to have Erica as a player and proud to have her as our captain on and off the court.  She is the perfect ambassador for our team, our program, and this game.

Barbara has demonstrated leadership in all facets of the game and in the locker room.  She plays with a smile on her face and will defend her team mates to the bitter end.  She brings character and buys into “let’s have fun while competing as hard as we can” attitude.

We are lucky to have Robin Driscoll as one of our Assistant Captains.  She was this team’s captain in the last world championship tourney where she proved herself as a team leader while earning both players and coaches respect.  She significantly contributed to a real positive experience for all the USA players.

Beth brings a ton of energy, loves hockey, loves her teammates and enjoys being a leader.  Beth is one of those players who will go above and beyond to help her teammates, and to ensure they have a fun and positive experience.”

We also spoke with the captains regarding what they believe are the keys to success for their team in Banff.  Here’s what they had to say:

Erica Bankowski: “Like any successful team, the whole of our team must be greater than the sum of its parts. To me, that means having our team gel at the right time and in the right way. Our team lives from “sea to shining sea.”  Nonetheless, at great personal sacrifice, our team has managed to build rapport. Our coach, Scott MacQuarrie has taken great strides to ensure this team functions as a flexible unit of women athletes. We are dedicated to winning and representing ourselves, our coach, and our country with distinction. To get there, we must hold ourselves and one another accountable. At the same time, our team is dedicated to enjoying the exceptional sportsmanship and fun derived from this odyssey.”

Barbara Leisenfeld: “What I believe are the keys to success for my team at Banff: “In order to succeed in Banff, we’ve got to want to win.  We have a lot of talented women on this team, but there’s no doubt that we will face players with more skill than us.  However, there is no excuse for them to work harder than us.  I think if we keep our energy high and positive and give 100% effort to every minute of every game, we can be a very formidable opponent.  But win or lose, if at the end of the week if we enjoyed ourselves and grew as players, I consider that to be a success.”

Robin Driscoll: “To attain our goal of winning in Banff, we need to communicate, capitalize, and be conscious.  Communication is key. We need to listen to our coaching staff, and then execute. On the rink, we need to talk. This is critical, since we haven’t been playing together as a team. Also, we must capitalize on any mistakes to create offensive opportunities. Exploit the power play.  Everyone must play smart, read the play, and be aware of what the other players on the rink are doing. Obviously, we need to keep our mistakes to a minimum, stay strong defensively, transition effectively, and make the second (or more) effort every time, at every position.  We exceeded expectations in Tampa in 2014. This is a better team. If we play for each other, as well as with each other, our flag will be raised.”

Beth Penfield: “The key to our success will be competing in every moment of the game as a team and giving everything we’ve got on the court.  No matter the skills and talent we each bring, wanting to succeed together will be essential to our success.  This involves playing disciplined, fundamental hockey while having fun and enjoying the overall experience.”

The 2016 ISBHF Masters World Ball Hockey Championships begin on June 1, 2016 in Banff, Alberta, Canada.  ASHI will be there to bring you fantastic coverage.