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Jaffrey's Drew sisters represent United States in world ball hockey championship

  • Abby and Haylie Drew of Jaffrey represent Team USA in the world ball hockey championships in the Czech Republic. Courtesy photo—

  • Abby and Haylie Drew of Jaffrey represent Team USA in the world ball hockey championships in the Czech Republic. Courtesy photo—

  • Abby and Haylie Drew of Jaffrey play for the USA U20 ball hockey team at the World Championships in the Czech Republic in June and July, 2018. Photo by fotozamoment.cz—

  • Abby and Haylie Drew of Jaffrey play for the USA U20 ball hockey team at the World Championships in the Czech Republic in June and July, 2018. Photo by fotozamoment.cz—

  • Abby and Haylie Drew of Jaffrey play for the USA U20 ball hockey team at the World Championships in the Czech Republic in June and July, 2018. Photo by fotozamoment.cz—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, July 06, 2018 11:12AM

Abby and Haylie Drew of Jaffrey represented the United States at the World Ball Hockey Championships in Prerov, Czech Republic last week. The Drew twins were selected for the Team USA U20 women’s team, donning the red, white and blue for a five-game tournament against international competition.

Haylie said the experience was “one in a million.”

“When you’re selected for this team to play for your country, it’s really an honor,” she said. “Playing with really good players that you’ve never met before, getting to know them, getting to practice with them, is a great experience and I’m proud I’ve had that.”

The girls made the cut for Team USA last year after playing ball hockey – essentially floor hockey, played with a ball instead of a puck, sneakers instead of skates, usually on a plastic tiled court – in tournaments around the region. The Team USA U20 girls, made up of the best ball hockey players nationwide, played together just three times leading up to the championships, and they landed in the Czech Republic without yet really knowing each other. But as coach Larry Furman addressed them before the first game of the tournament, they knew they were united as one. Channeling 1980s USA hockey coach Herb Brooks, Furman told the girls that when you’re on Team USA, the name of the front of the jersey is bigger than the name on the back.

“I stood to that every single game,” Abby said. “I didn’t care about my last name, I didn’t care who I was, I was playing for Team USA and I wanted to win.”

Win they did; Team USA took down Great Britain 4-0 in the opener to win the team’s first-ever game in international competition, fans from their home country cheering them on.

“It was a great time, looking across the rink and seeing all the USA fans chanting – they were a great support,” Abby said.

Haylie agreed, saying that the fan support took them to a whole new level.

“When you’re over there and you look into the crowd and you hear your family and your friends cheering you on, it gets you pumped in a way – I don’t even know how to describe it, it’s so fun to play there and to be on that team,” she said.

The rest of the week wasn’t quite as successful on the rink for Team USA. They’d play a second game that day, and between a six-hour time difference from the U.S., tired legs from playing back-to-back games, and a longer international competition rink, the girls had their hands full with the host Czech Republic, losing 5-1. Then, they’d lose to a tough Canada team, 2-0 and then close out the tournament with a pair of one-goal losses to Slovakia. 

“They were definitely faster, stronger, more prepared to play in the games, where we were together for three weekends,” Abby said. 

But away from the rink, the Drews and their teammates had the time of their lives, bonding as a team, making new friends and new memories, and touring Prerov and Prague as a group of international celebrities, as some Team USA fans would approach them on the street and fawn over them.

“This one girl ran up to us and acted like we were all celebrities,” Haylie said. “She seemed really excited to meet us. That felt really nice because I’ve never been treated like a celebrity before.”

The girls returned to the United States just in time for the Fourth of July, which had a little more meaning after a trip overseas representing their country.

“I loved coming back,” Abby said. “The whole week, I didn’t want to come back to the U.S. because I liked being away and seeing the new cultures and being with all my friends, and when I came back, I was like ‘Finally, America.’” 

Abby and Haylie will get back together with their teammates for a friendly game sometime in August and try out again for the world championships in about six months. The next world championships are set for 2020.