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American families travel thousands of miles to cheer on Team USA

Winter Games 5 March 2019

The USA women’s ice hockey team’s supporters made their presence known in the compact and intimate Pervomaisky Ice Arena

KRASNOYARSK – As the United States and Canadian women’s hockey teams battled it out on the ice, an overwhelming chant of ‘USA, USA’ echoed throughout the arena.


The chant was led by seven American families who made the journey across the Atlantic Ocean to watch their sisters, daughters and even cousins compete on the international stage.


“We don’t miss her play,” Charlene Ash, mother of Kathleen Ash, said. “We’re very excited to be here.”


This is the second Winter Universiade for the younger Ash, as she is one of four returning members from the U.S. team that competed in Kazakhstan in 2017. She’s supported by not only her mother, but also her sister, father and cousin this time around.


“I’m just super excited to be here,” cousin Lindsay Steinbauer said. “She was in Kazakhstan two years ago and they got to make it and they just had nothing but good things to say so we had to be here for her.”


For Sharon Reilly, mother of Maeve Elizabeth Reilly, the experience has been an incredible opportunity. Her daughter plays for the College of the Holy Cross, a National Collegiate Athletic Association member school, and this is the first time NCAA women’s hockey players have been eligible to compete for Team USA at the Winter Universiade.


“We couldn’t have been happier for her,” Sharon said. “It’s such an honor to be here and play these international teams. It’s been really good.”


It’s an honor not only for the players to be here, but also the families. Charlene Ash said she’s been right there with her daughter for every step of her hockey career, and hearing she was going back to another Games was an incredible feeling.


“We were doing back flips,” Charlene said. “It was always a dream of hers to make it to the Olympics and making it to Worlds is just as good for all of us.”


Goalie Hannah Stone — a freshman at Lindenwood University playing in her first Games — said having her parents here supporting her as made the experience all the more special.


“It’s amazing, I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to come,” Stone said. “Knowing that they are here supporting me and watching my games is good. I’m really happy that they are here.”


Rick Muse’s daughter plays on the U.S. bandy team and he made the short walk over to support the women’s hockey squad. He said it was important for him to make the journey to support his daughter and that he has been taking advantage of the opportunity to experience the city.


“It’s been great, it’s really neat,” Muse said. “It’s really cool to see the culture differences and all that. It’s been a great experience.”


The families sit in the stands together during games and explore the city together in their free time. It’s not only a bonding experience for the players, but also for the proud families who get to watch them play on the big stage.


“It’s really an honor,” Sharon Reilly said. “It’s exciting to see her have this experience.”



By FISU International Young Reporter Danielle Allentuck at the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade