For rising Harvard sophomore Josephine Pucci, getting selected to play for the 2010 US Women’s Under-22 Select hockey team was more than an honor. It was an affirmation—an affirmation that she was doing things the right way.
As if playing in 31 of the Crimson’s 33 games as a rookie was not enough proof that she was doing something right, Pucci’s selection to represent her country should certainly shore up all doubts.
“[Getting invited to join the team] reaffirms that you are on the right path and doing the right things,” said Pucci, who finished her first collegiate season with four goals and nine assists.
But it was Pucci’s defensive contributions for Harvard—she ranked third on team with a +16 rating—that helped her land a spot as one of eight defenders selected to represent the US at the 2010 Women’s National Festival and in a three-game series against Canada.
“We’re looking for her to bring some youthful enthusiasm,” said Brown coach Digit Murphy, who will serve as head coach for the U-22 US team. “I think that she’s got a lot of potential as a player in the national system. We’re hoping that she can be one of the up and comers.”
The festival—which will take place from August 13-21 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.—will give the team a chance to train and practice before it departs to Toronto on August 18th to take part in a three-game series against Canada.
The US has had trouble in recent years against its neighbors from the north, dropping seven of nine contests since 2006.
But this year’s US squad boasts an experienced roster that features three members from the US national team that took home the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
For Pucci, who turned 19 in December, it remains to be seen how she will fit into this battled-tested lineup in her first experience playing hockey at the international level.
“I don’t really know exactly what my role is going to be,” Pucci said. “I am just going to work my hardest.”
The New York native will be Harvard’s lone representative at the festival, but she will be joined by three other Ivy Leaguers—Princeton’s Sasha Sherry, Yale’s Bray Ketchum, and Dartmouth’s Amanda Trunzo.
“[The Harvard women’s hockey team] couldn’t be happier, because she’s going to represent us really well and her country really well,” classmate Jillian Dempsey said. “She really deserves it."
Dempsey, a veteran of the national program having won gold at the IIHF World Championship in 2009, remembers the excitement leading up to her first international competition as a member of the US National U-18 Team.
“It’s every kid's dream to play for their country some day,” Dempsey said. “Putting on that jersey the first time, you just get a thrill. There’s so much excitement.”
But Pucci won’t have to wait until she dawns her red, white, and blue uniform to start feeling the excitement.
With the upcoming competition as extra motivation, Pucci plans to return to Cambridge next week to begin training with her Harvard teammates.
“[Getting to play for the US] is definitely an awesome feeling,” Pucci said. “Growing up being an ice hockey player, it’s always been a dream.”