An Unlikely Opportunity

Written by Merisa Boyd

“I saw a post on Facebook for the 2015-16 Boston Blades prospect camp and figured, ‘why not?’

This was the beginning for Lauren Dahm and her journey with the Boston Blades just two seasons ago.

The Clarkson Golden Knight alumna would not only make the team coming out of that social media marketed prospect camp but would also become the Blades starting goaltender and one of the most notable figures in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

“When I decided to try out for the Blades, I was grateful just to have that chance,” reflected Dahm following the end of the 2017-18 season. “When I made the team I was so happy, then to be the starting goalie my first season [felt] unimaginable. Every weekend, traveling the continent, donning that jersey, competing against the best players in the world, making memories with my teammates, it has been incredible.”

The Blades workhorse netminder began her hockey career at six years old, following some of her tee ball teammates who wanted to learn how to play. As Dahm grew up, she mainly played for the Syracuse Stars. While she did find her love for the position at a young age, her first two seasons in the game saw her team rotate everyone through each position, and whenever it hit her turn to play in net there was no question in her mind where she belonged.

“I was immediately hooked. After all, I had been begging my parents for a while and those games showed it was in my blood. I don’t blame them for not giving in easily though, ‘goalie parent’ is the toughest job out there.”

From there the Baldwinsville, New York native went on to compete in the 2004 USA Hockey Nationals with the Stars, which then led to her becoming a Clarkson University Golden Knight in the early years of the perennial powerhouse program, and allowed her to dawn the USA crest as a member of USA Hockey’s Under-22 squad.

However, while the desire to play competitive hockey has always been in her blood, following graduation from the burgeoning NCAA juggernaut Dahm took five years off from playing at a high-performance level, returning to Syracuse and joining a recreational team.

“I think that time was good for me and my love for the game,” reflected Dahm. “I got to just play for the fun of it and reconnect with a few teammates from before college. The winter of 2015-16 I started playing with the top men’s leagues in the area and noticed the women’s pro leagues catching more attention. This is when I caught the Blades prospect camp, the timing and opportunity ended up working out pretty much perfectly.”

Now a team leader with the Blades, Dahm mentioned two historic events as moments of personal pride from the 2017-18 season.

The first, a road trip to Shenzhen, China to compete against the expansion Kunlun Red Star and Vanke Rays.

“It was a blast from start to finish and we were treated so professionally over there. Even though we didn’t win we had a couple really tight and exciting games for the big crowd. It was also the most cohesive that our team was this year and served as a great bonding experience for us all.”

The second monumental event, the first paycheck for players in CWHL history, a moment she spoke about fondly in terms of how financial compensation has allowed players to feel a little less stress off the ice.

“It is empowering to know that as women we can be paid to play the game we love and to which we have devoted our lives to be the best we can be. The money we got paid by the CWHL certainly allowed me to focus more on my game and I think that showed as I was able to bring my game to another level in comparison to my first season.”

Being a part of this kind of league history is something Dahm is incredibly thankful for, along with the countless other opportunities she’s received around the game. Her parents have been a huge support system throughout her career, as many hockey parents are. She concluded with the gratefulness she’s come to feel over the years, along with the praise she’s begun to receive for inspiring the next generation.

“I am just so grateful to be able to play in the CWHL and it is always heartwarming realizing the impact we have on fans, young players, and their families. When I came back home after this season to my summer softball teams, a couple of my teammates who are mothers of 10-year old girls came up to me and just thanked me for doing what I’m doing. They were saying how proud they are to know me and to know what our league is accomplishing in giving young girls a vision for the future. I absolutely love hearing that and it is incredibly humbling that they’re thanking me for simply doing something that I love.”


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