U.S. Bancorp Investments Senior Vice President Ken Cameranesi and his wife traveled to PyeongChang with one mission – to be glued to the women’s ice hockey tournament.
Ken’s youngest daughter, Dani, is one of the forwards on this year’s United States team, giving him and all of U.S. Bank extra rooting incentive as they play in the gold medal game against Canada on Feb. 21. (Update: the United States won 3-2.)
Dani has overcome a lot of adversity to make it this far, Ken said. She got injured two years ago during her junior season at the University of Minnesota. The following year she tore up her ankle, prompting Ken to think she probably wouldn’t heal in time to compete for a slot on the national team this year.
While attending high school at the Blake School, Dani had been able to represent the country on hockey teams for girls under 17 and again for girls under 18 years old.
“I certainly knew she had skills and was one of the top girls in the country when she was at the U of M, but you never know,” Ken said.
Dani successfully rehabbed from her injuries and was invited last fall to the tryouts. She was named to the official PyeongChang roster in January.
“This has always been her dream,” Ken said. “The thing that I’m most proud of is that she fought through those injuries and trials and tribulations. I’m just so happy and excited for her.”
Ken and his wife Tess, who also have a son Tony who played hockey at University of Minnesota Duluth and an older daughter Samantha, who was a dancer at the University of Minnesota, never set out to raise world-class athletes. They just did what they could to help make their kids’ dreams possible.
Ken fondly recalls all the time he spent driving his children to and from practices and competitions.
“I even enjoyed the road trips and stuff,” Ken said. “It’s a chance to actually get to know and spend more time with your kids and understand what makes them tick – it’s a gift.”
As the Cameranesi family is just beginning to write its own story, U.S. Banker Maureen Clark, her husband Jason and sons Henry (3) and James (1) are curled up on the couch watching this year’s competition, and recalling Maureen’s experience in Turin, Italy in 2006
Clark, a U.S. Bank Fair and Responsible Banking risk consultant, was on the curling team for the United States, an experience that has been a highlight of her life and even shapes how she approaches her job today.
Curling is played on ice with four people on each team, each taking turns sliding large heavy stones, which curve – or curl – depending upon how team members sweep the path of the rock. The goal is to score points by placing your team’s stones closest to the center of the target.
“Every time someone’s throwing on your team, everyone is working together. You’re always communicating to make the shots the best that you can,” Clark said. “Working together, that community and communications part is what I really enjoyed and actually part of what I like about my work now at U.S. Bank.”
Clark’s path started in grade school at her home curling club in Portage, Wisconsin, where her parents, brother and other relatives curled. She needed a winter sport and had a choice of that or basketball.
“[Curling] was probably a good decision. I’m 5-3 and wasn’t going to be on the basketball team very long,” Clark said.
Being on the team in Turin provided great lessons and friendships (she still curls for fun at a club in St. Paul with a former teammate and has friends on this year’s squad.)
Don’t expect Clark to bring up the fact she curled for her country; she doesn’t talk about it much unless she happens to be in a group meeting that requires everyone to share some unique fact about themselves.
“For ice-breakers, I usually bring it up as my fun-fact,” she said. “Because that’s the most exciting thing about me I guess.”
Check out the full schedule of events to watch alongside Maureen, Ken and many others at U.S. Bank.
Sam Black works in public affairs and communications at U.S. Bank.