Skater Blazes a Trail for Women's Professional Hockey
Considine, Mike, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Mike Considine Daily Herald Correspondent
It had been 10 years since Cammi Granato was inside the Herrick Middle School gym and a little longer since she was a student there. Returning Tuesday seemed to wipe those years away for a moment.
"It was cool," Granato said. "I hadn't been here in a while. It was great to see all my old teachers and know I was one of those kids sitting in an assembly."
At that time, Granato was a volleyball, basketball and track standout. Tuesday, the 26-year-old was fresh from touring Sweden and Finland with the USA Hockey national women's hockey team. Granato was one of 25 women selected for the team, and she is a strong candidate to make the first women's hockey Olympic team when the 20-player roster is selected in late December or January. The Olympics will take place in February.
She stopped by her alma mater in Downers Grove during "Cammi Granato Day" to tell students about persistence.
After all, she is realizing opportunities she wouldn't have thought possible at their age.
"It's weird that all this comes from just playing hockey," Granato said. "I'm happy to be a role model and kind of share experiences with them."
Her 20-minute speech during the assembly focused on the importance of practice, dedication and discipline. Granato took questions from the students afterward and, later, from a physical education class.
The student body - clad in red, white and blue - chanted "USA" and "Cammi" during the assembly. They presented Granato with four bouquets of roses, a Herrick sweat shirt and an Olympic flag to sign. They asked her to sign everything from photographs to American flags to dollar bills. She posed for about 75 photographs in two hours and didn't seem to mind.
One of the autograph seekers was an eighth-grader who shares some of Granato's passion for hockey, but hadn't heard of Granato before Tuesday morning. Amy Moore had her broken left arm in a cast and her right thumb bandaged from playing roller hockey with her brothers.
"I play all the time on Rollerblades," Moore said. …