Originally published by the ISBHF
For an American team looking to build on the momentum of a highly successful and unprecedented run to the gold medal game of the 2017 ISBHF World Championships, elite scorer and highly skilled playmaker Becky Dobson comprised an integral component in such objectives. Among a bright and exciting generation of young competitors for the squad, Dobson, who grew up in Pennsylvania, competing on the ice with West Chester University, capturing an ACHA National Championship, now represents the potential of the US to become firmly entrenched as a women’s ball hockey power.
Ascending to the status of an All-World superstar at the 2019 edition of the Worlds, contested in Kosice, Slovakia, Dobson, who was recognized as the tournament’s Best Forward, already holds a treasured place in American ball hockey lore, as she scored the game-winning tally that defeated Canada for the first time back in 2017. That win also holds legendary connotations as it allowed the US to advance to their first-ever gold medal game. In that same year, Dobson cemented her status as a prime time player by capturing Tournament MVP honors at the North American Ball Hockey Championships with the Atlantic Crush.
The outcome of the 2019 Worlds held dual joys for Dobson, contributing towards the US gaining another podium finish, finished as Team USA’s leading scorer. Amassing five points, on the strength of three goals, ranking tenth overall in tournament scoring, it marked an upward progression for Dobson, who continues to reach new heights with each successive event. Reflecting on such scoring proficiency, it is her humility that rises to the surface, quick to acknowledge that her accomplishments were equally attributed to the others that wore the Stars and Stripes in Kosice, symbolic of the culture of solidarity that defined the team,
“I did not even realize I was…that is pretty cool, but it was a total team effort all tournament long. Everyone contributed whether or not their name appeared on the scoresheet, and that is what made us so successful. No one cared about individual points or who was scoring, we all just wanted to win together as a unit and it showed on and off the court.”
Among the milestones that Dobson experienced, perhaps the most satisfying was the opportunity to serve as an alternate captain. Taking into account that all players were part of the process in selecting the team’s captains, the result was a tremendous display of respect bestowed upon her.
Accepting the honor with pride, the opportunity motivated her to expand her role, adopting the dual role of both, team leader and offensive catalyst, signifying a key growth in her evolution as a member of Team USA. Revered for constantly displaying leadership through her work ethic and solid effort on the slab, the addition of an A to her jersey brought about new perspective. Employing tremendous maturity and acumen, Dobson discussed how she became more assertive in the capacity of being vocal, a key aspect for any player in the role of captaincy,
“I was voted as an assistant captain by my teammates and I think I really appreciated and embraced that role. I am more of a lead by example player with how I play on the court, always trying to give 100% effort and motivate my teammates with how I play; but I think this time around I made it a point to be more vocal in the locker room too.”
Undeniably, Dobson’s efforts were essential in the United States returning to the gold medal game for the second straight tournament. Although the consecutive result of silver was not the desired outcome, many key positives took on symbolic victories. From the outset, the US proved that luck was certainly not an element in their remarkable run from 2017. Instead, it served as a paradigm shift, altering the game’s balance of power.
Qualifying for the medal round was clearly a key goal for Dobson and her teammates. Knowing that they defeated their eternal rivals from Canada in the previous Worlds, the sentiment of a golden outcome was within reach. Building on the empowering experiences of 2017, Dobson observed that the team definitely brought confidence heading into Kosice,
“Definitely, we had been there before and knew we could get there again. When we beat Czech Republic in the round robin, we knew then, that we could beat every team at the tournament because we beat Canada in ’17 for the first time. The entire team had confidence in one another and trusted their teammates to always give all that they had. Unfortunately, we were not able to beat Canada this time around, but it certainly was not due to a lack of confidence or effort.”
As Team USA ponders the potential in the decade to come, they definitely have a gem in Dobson. Employing skill, tenacity and a tremendous love of the game, it has made her the kind of player that ball hockey fans the world over can appreciate.
Certainly, that appreciation is reciprocal. Enjoying the opportunity to wear the USA jersey abroad, it has transformed Dobson into an ambassador for the game. Reflecting on her latest experience, her enthusiasm shines through, simultaneously recognizing the heroic efforts of one of her seasoned teammates, scoring a landmark goal against the host country, providing the US with another monumental milestone to add to its expanding lore.
With the emergence of superstars like Dobson, the future of women’s ball hockey in America holds limitless potential, while adding another element to both, the quality of play, and the intensity of the rivalries, in ISBHF tournament play.
“The entire experience was amazing. One moment that definitely stands out is when Karen Levin scored in OT against Slovakia in a must-win game to set us up for the gold medal game. It was nerve-wracking and awesome; and I could not have wished for a better player and person to score that goal.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”