Danielle Sabido Imperial: Hockey is more than just a game, when a rink becomes home and team becomes family!

Danielle Sabido Imperial from Philippines is a very emotinal player,  who loves hockey and talks about it in a touching and special way. As you listen to her story, her words leave you breathless because leave you breathless, because of their simplicity, warmth and sincerity. The following story is not about top hockey results, but it IS about deep affection and love for the sport you’re dealing with.

Danielle Sabido Imperial

FROM A PLASTIC HOCKEY STICK TO THE NATIONAL TEAM

It all started in the garage of my house, where my brother and I would skate around, with our plastic hockey sticks and puck. Our cousins from California had just moved back home, and let us watch the Mighty Ducks movies. We would routinely spend afternoons watching them, and then going outside to play on our driveway.

In 2011, a hockey dad noticed us public skating, and asked if we wanted to join their club training. The invite was actually just for my brother, but after training they welcomed me as well. We started playing under coach Carl Montano, a Filipino-Canadian who had just moved back home. He got us started,  and coached us all the way up to 2016. Then our practices shifted, and became national team trainings under different coaches. A lot of the national players  are Carl Montano’s former students as well. Now it’s amazing seeing how everyone has grown since he stepped in, back in 2011.

TO BEGIN WITH, HOCKEY WASN’T A COMMON SPORT IN MANILA

The club I started playing in was one of two youth clubs in Manila at that time. We would only get to compete in an annual tournament in Hong Kong, called the Mega Ice Hockey 5s. When I first played there, I was far from good enough to even skate with the guys. When I graduated from the bantam age division, it was the first time that a women’s team was put together to compete. To begin with, hockey wasn’t a common sport in Manila. There were just a few players regularly training, but we managed to find some others, and recruit new ones.

OUR FIRST, HISTORICAL IIHF WIN

This year we competed in the IIHF Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia for the fist time. We had a very tough first game against a seasoned Thailand team, who had just come back from the Asian Winter Games all fired up. We won against Malaysia and UAE, but lost the rest. Maybe we’d finish with a better standing, but I guess we were young team. Half of the players were completely unexperienced, it was all about growing together and taking our first steps as a team. We weren’t prepared, a lot of us felt it, and so we came home more dedicated to training.

But  in May this year we joined the Mega Ice Hockey 5s  tournament again, and won gold! It was really nice to finally win, specially seeing how we had improved already from two months prior in the WCCOA. We knew we were learning from everything, and that’s what mattered most.

The national women’s hockey team of Philippines

 WE SANG OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM BEFORE THE GAME, WITH TEARS ALREADY IN OUR EYES

I’ll never forget our WCCOA game against Malaysia. After straight losses that we expected would turn out different, we sang our national anthem before the game with tears already in our eyes. I stood at the front of the line and saw how the audience was looking at our team. I turned around and saw I wasn’t the only one in tears. We were eager for a team win, and it showed in how we played. It was in this game that I saw us really come together, and find our tune. We won our first ever official game and found our stride to keep moving forward from there.

A HOCKEY FAMILY

Danielle with her family

I come from a small hockey family. My brother is on the men’s national team, but he is also officially the women’s national team assistant coach. My mom is the women’s team manager. When I’m not playing for the  national team, I help out with social media for Hockey Philippines. Outside of hockey, I’m a university student majoring in Economics, double minoring in Literature, and in Global Politics at the Ateneo de Manila University.

WHEN TIME COMES I CAN’T PLAY COMPETITIVE HOCKEY, I’D LOVE TO COACH IF I GET THE CHANCE TO

I’m graduating from university next school year, and hope to get into law school afterwards. Although a lot of people tell me I won’t be able to keep playing while im pursuing that, I’ll be trying my best. If I can’t, I know I’ll be back in a few years. I looked up how old the oldest women’s national team player in the world is, and it’s 42 or so. I expect to go as far if I’m physically able to — thing is I have scoliosis, but I hope it doesn’t get too much to handle. When time comes I can’t play competitive hockey, I’d love to coach if I get the chance to. I’ve been playing for only 7 years and I look forward to all the years ahead. It’s only the beginning. 2017 was the first year that the Philippines got opportunities to compete in official tournaments and we’ll be taking big strides from now on.

Danielle – the captain of the first national women’s hockey team of Philippines

HOCKEY IS MORE THAN JUST A GAME, WHEN A RINK BECOMES HOME, AND TEAM BECOMES FAMILY

We love hockey and so nothing should stop us from reaching our goals. That’s why everyone of us should work hard, and learn from our own experiences. We must never forget to have fun doing this, whether we’re just starting out, or at our peak, or if we are about to hang our skates up. Hockey is more than just a game, when a rink becomes home and team becomes family.

 

 

Are you a superstitious hockey player?

Are you a superstitious hockey player? Do you whisper some special prayers before stepping on ice? Do you skate to the opposite side when you see a black cat on a rink? 😀 Do you make special hairstyles before important matches? Do you beleive some special food can help you to win your opponent? Do you have your own private sorcerers?

These questions are just a small part of the various rituals and beleifs in the women’s hockey world. Some female players openly admit they believe in some supernatural powers. Others claim they have their own special rituals, but deny they are coiled.

And what do you believe in?

NEVER TAPE YOUR STICK BEFORE A GAME!

Veronika Bucifalova

Veronika Bucifalova (18, Czechia): I do have few rituals before game and I try to do them all every time. I will  not share all of them with you, just a few. Some people tape their stick before a game, I have a rule that I try not to break and that is NEVER TAPE YOUR STICK BEFORE GAME. So that is  a kind of my anti-ritual, but lets get back to the actual rituals. I’ve made a playlist of songs in my phone, and I have to listen to it before a game. I usually listen music until the coaches show up in the locker room. I also have a necklace that I only wear for a game for good luck. Maybe I could share more, but it is a little bit personal.

TAPING THE POST OR THE CROSSBAR WITH MY STICK

Sandra Abstreiter

Sandra Abstreiter (19, Germany):   Before a game I usually try to watch hockey videos or highlights, to get in the right mood. When we get to the rink I always try to have some fun with my teammates so that I don’t get too nervous. When it is time to get dressed I usually put on and tie my left skate first and strap on my left pad before the right one. On the ice I do what many goalies do which is taping the post or the crossbar with my stick before getting ready for the shot. During the game it is always important to stay focused throughout the whole game so I always try to not think about anything besides this game at the moment.

I HAVE TO WEAR THE SAME SOCKS EVERY TIME

Tia Marie Kay

Tia Marie Kay (19, USA):  I have a lot of small thing I need to do before stepping on the ice before a game. For starters, I get dressed by putting on my left skate first and then right and the same with my skin pads. I put my hockey pants on after my shin pads and then taping my shin pads up. Finishing it off my putting my top gear in. If I don’t get dressed like this I feel very off and kind of unorganized. I have to wear the same socks every time and sometimes if I am having a really good practice week before a game weekend, I won’t wash my socks before because I think that I would be washing away the hard work. 

I JUST SIMPLY BELEIVE IN ME, MY WORK AND MY TEAMMATES

Jelena Grković

Jelena Grković (20, Hungary): I do not beleive in rituals. But some of my teammates do unusual things before the game. Some of them act like ‘last time we won, we played in white jerseys, so we should play today  in white as well. Or ‘last time we won, I ate chicken and pasta, so that’s what I am gonna to eat ttoday, too”. Maybe it is good for them, because they strongly believe in it, and play more relaxed. I just simply believe in me, my work and my teammates

I ALWAYS NEED MUSIC BEFORE A GOOD GAME

Phoebe Staenz

Phoebe Staenz (23, Switzerland): I am not superstitious. But, certain things just need to be done. I like to tape my stick before a game. It helps me focus. I always need music before a good game. It is the easiest way to get me excited for the game and keep me for tensing up. Loosey goosey is how I like to start my game. Other than that I dont think rituals are any good unless they cant be influenced externally. I have had days where I forget to put on a certain item of gear at a certain sequence and It came down to not being focused on the game. 

PRE-GAME COFFEE IS VERY IMPORTANT!

Liga Miljone

Liga Miljone (20, Latvia):  I am superstitious. I think that every hockey player is at some point coiled. I have a few things that I do before games. When it comes to the equipment that has pairs, for example skates, gloves and so on, I always start with the right side and then comes left. I also have a special music playlist that I listen to while we are going or driving to the ice rink. And of course, pre-game coffee is very important!

I DON’T LET ANYONE TOUCH MY HOCKEY STICKS ON GAMEDAYS

Krista Yip-Chuck

Krista Yip-Chuck (28, Canada): I’m not someone who will get upset if my routine doesn’t go as planned. But I do have several superstitions. I won’t give all my secrets away but I typically change into my equipment left side first. I don’t let anyone touch my sticks on gamedays and like to play on a bit of an empty stomach. One funny story from last year is that my equipment manager would get me grape bubblegum before the game.

THE SAME TECHNICOLORED STRIPED UNDERWEAR

Danielle Sabido Imperial

Danielle Sabido Imperial (20, Philippines): Oh, definitely special underwear. 😀 Ever since I scored my first goal in the Manila Ice Hockey League, I made sure to keep wearing the same technicolored striped underwear. I thought why not I guess. Several though, not just a pair – I have enough of the same technicolored pattern.

Well, this is just a part of rituals and beleifs female players do before games, and there are a thousands others, for sure.. Some players call it superstition, some are just focusing on the game. Psychologists think it is important just to believe in something or  someone. It helps to player’s self-confidence and a better game. Whether it is underwear, putting the equipment in a certain order or something else,  it’s important just to feel good, and enjoy the game.

Krista Yip-Chuck: Our goal is to win 2018 Worlds and advance to Division IA

Krista Yip-Chuck is a 22 years old Canadian whose life is definitely marked by hockey. She’s been  playing it almost 20 years, but she’s really passionate about all sports as well. Krista loves social media and travelling, reading and scrap-booking with her free time. Currently, she lives in Toronto, working as a marketing intern at a law firm. She’s planning on attending law school in September 2018, and aspire to become a corporate lawyer involved with the professional sports industry.

GROWING UP WITH HOCKEY

I started playing hockey when I was 4, in my hometown of Whitby,  Canada. It was also the first year my town created a girls hockey program. I was lucky and grew up in a pretty hockey-crazy town. Although mostly boys played, it was not weird for girls to do so too. My dad had played hockey as a kid, and we watched the Toronto Maple Leafs on TV every Saturday night growing up. So when we were old enough, my parents put me and my younger brother in the winter sport.

Krista Yip-Chuck

From the age of 4-18, I played for the Whitby Wolves girls hockey program in Ontario. For my last three years, my team played in the PWHL which was an under-21 junior league in Ontario. On Whitby, I have won 4 Provincial gold medals and 2 Provincial bronze medals. In my last year, I was the team captain and lead the league in scoring. We also won the PWHL Championship. In 2012, I was captain of Team Ontario Blue. We won gold at the Under-18 Hockey Canada National Championship.

A FORMER CAPTAIN OF THE YALE UNIVERSITY  HOCKEY TEAM, AND A FUTURE MEMBER OF THE LATVIAN NATIONAL TEAM

Most recently, I was recruited to and played hockey at Yale University in the NCAA from 2013-2017. In my senior season, I was team captain, lead the team in points, and was one of the inaugural All-American Scholars while playing with two amazing line mates Swiss Olympian Phoebe Staenz and a former Hockey Canada player Eden Murray.

Taylor Marchin, Krista Yip-Chuck and Phoebe Staenz

In January 2018, I will be playing hockey in Latvia. Because I hold dual citizenship, I will be representing the Latvian Women’s National Team at the 2018 IIHF World Championships. As preparation, I will be playing for the Latvia Selects with many of my national team members that compete in the Latvian U16 Boys League.

TWO SIDES OF THE COIN

The best part of playing hockey are friends living all around the world. As for hockey highlights, lifting the cup and celebrating our National Championship win with my Ontario teammates stands out. Another great memory I have is traveling to the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland with the East Coast Selects – a summer “all-star” team composed of girls from Ontario, the US and Sweden.

I’ve been really lucky throughout my career and have had mostly positive experiences. The most difficult thing I’ve experienced was suffering a dislocated shoulder in my last season at Yale. It was my first major injury. I didn’t get to play in the two weeks leading up to playoffs and missed my senior night game. However, I was able to rehab and play in a brace in the first round of playoffs. I had surgery at the end of the season and have trained all summer to get healthy.

The greatest benefits from hockey are friends from all over the world!

HOCKEY PLAYERS HAVE SOME OF THE BEST SENSES OF HUMOUR

Hockey players have some of the best senses of humour. I have seen many good pranks over the years. Some of the best have been clear tape on the bottom of players skates, sticking wrapped bubblegum down the fingers of gloves, and filling players’ sticks with coins so that they’re super heavy and make a lot of noise! One time we placed a cell phone in our goalies’ hockey pants and started calling it. She couldn’t figure out where the ringing was coming from. 😀

The two most important traditions my team has is that you can’t step on the team logo on our carpet in the locker room. The other one is that  after every victory we always listen to our “win” song. Last year, it was Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi.

Krista in action

OUR GOAL IS TO WIN 2018 WORLDS AND ADVANCE TO DIVISION IA

I recently graduated from Yale in May 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree, and plan on attending law school in September 2018. In January I will move to Latvia to train with the Women’s National Team. Our goal is to win 2018 Worlds in April, and advance to Division IA, and ultimately make it to the Olympics in 2022. My plan is to enter the CWHL draft for 2018 as well, and I hope to play professional women’s hockey in North America next season.

NEVER LET ANYONE TAKE AWAY YOUR PASSION

The best piece of advice I could give is to never let anyone take away your passion and to be the hardest working player on the ice! You are likely going to face distractions in your career. But if you remember why you love to play hockey, remain confident in yourself, and give your best effort, then you are sure to be successful .

Tatyana Tkachenko – play your game and enjoy it!

Tatyana Tkachenko is a very special athlete from Ukraine, who plays hockey and really enjoys it. Her sport’s career is quite different from other players, and leaves none indifferent. She started to play pretty late, in her thirties, but it didn’t stop her to love hockey less passionately. Her never-give-up attitude is the obvious example that age and talent are not crucial to one’s successfull career. Tatyana’s  life story can be a guide for many young girls, because it proves that steady and continuous work, diligence, and love for the sport definitely are the key to success.

Tatyana Tkachenko – the president of the HC Dnepr Queens

FROM FIGURE SKATING TO ICE HOCKEY

I’ve been figure skating since I was 3, till I turned 15. Then I had to stop it, because my parents couldn’t pay for my sport anymore. That’s why I decided to focus on school and future law studies. When I became a lawyer and a successfull business woman, I decided to get back on the ice. After a 20- year break, I decided to skate again, but this time wearing a  hockey equipment. I was not a fragile girl anymore – I was firmly standing on the ground now, and that’s why I was interested in hockey, to try something harder. It was a challenge for me .and I managed to deal with it. Nowadays, hockey is my life. I’m 36 now, and I can not  imagine even one day without a stick and puck.

When I was younger, my family could not pay for the sport, and I was very sad for it.But I never forgot that – It pushed me to learn very hard, and fight to reach my goals. When I grew up and became  succesfull, I was able to help others. That feeling and possibility has made my life fullfilled with positive energy and happiness.  In our club,  the Dnepr Queens, we all do our best to popularize hockey among the youth. When I started to play hockey, I was the only member of my family doing this. Meanwhile, I involved my son and sister, so currently there are three hockey players in our family.

OUR GOVERMENT DOESN’T SUPPORT US

I have to admit that everyone is astonished to see how much we love hockey and live with it. We have many supporters, starting with our families and friends. It is priceless,  for the team and for me as well. It’s not a secret that hockey is an expensive sport. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian government doesn’t support it at all. That’s why all the teams and athletes cover all the expenses for the trainings by themselves.

Unfortunatelly, our goverment doesn’t support us! – Tatyana with the teammates

Currently I am the president of the Dnepr Queens women’s hockey club, and a  player as well. Every day I practice and play with others, but also try develop hockey and look for the funds that alow the team’s existence. Our friends, relatives and teammates, we all organize the volunteer meetings and try to raise the funds for the team.  As a company manager, every month I give a part of my own salary,  in order to support the team. The number of girls in our club is constantly increasing, and therefore the costs of purchasing equipment and other resources.

WE WON ALL THE GAMES IN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

My hockey career is pretty short, but it’s full of great moments.  I’m a central stricker of the  HC Dnepr Queens. Last season I gained 25 points (10 goals and 15 assists) for our team, and we won the National championship. I have to point out that we became the first team ever that had managed to win all the matches of the championship.  One of the great memories I am very proud of is also the second place we won at the international women’s ice hockey cup Baltica 2017. That’s what our team does. Our motto is – the best are together.
Our moto is: the best are together!

That’s why I sincerely wish the Ukrainian women’s hockey team to compete in the Olympic and world’s championships. I’m doing my best to help the young girls to practice and  become better hockey players, in order to become the part of the national hockey team. Of course, I do not want to hide it, I wish my team to be always the best, to be the champions, because we deserve it.

PLAY YOUR GAME AND ENJOY IT

 So, if you ask me, I would tell all the young  girls to join us. Do you want to be powerful and selfconfident, to grow personally and reach the top? Do you want to have kind and supportive people around you? Do you love speed, power and adventure? If your answers are positive, start playing hockey. That will give you the best of the sport. I would also like to tell something to more expirienced female hockey players:  I wish you many wins and the good feel of the goal scoring. I would kindly ask you to help younger players, and to respect your opponents as well. And the most important – play your game and enjoy it!

 

Katarina Timglas – 3 Winter Olympics in her pocket

Katarina Timglas from Sweden is a very unusual athlete. She has competed in  two Winter Olympic Games, both times as a hockey player. These days she is preparing for a third one, but this time as a referee. Being an Olympian is a dream for almost all athletes, and for Katarina it’s a reality. Of course, the reality she deserves, because of her persistent and hard work, the fighting spirit, good organization and the firm will.

HOCKEY WITH BROTHERS

Katarina Timglas

I started playing hockey because both of my brothers were playing it. There was no question if I wanted it or not, I got a feel for it in a second. My twin brother and I started playing hockey when we were 5, and played together all the way up to junior’s team. I was the only girl on the team, but it didn’t bother me. We played together on the IK Pantern Limhamn from Malme. When I was 17, I couldn’t play with the boys anymore, so I started to play with women, on the AIK Lugano HC.

By playing hockey, I have been able to meet  many interesting people from all over the world, and experience a lot of beautiful things. The most important above them all are certainly the silver medal from the Olympic Tournament in Italy, 2 bronze medals from the world championships, 1 Swedish gold and 1 silver from the Swiss league. I have 4 gold from European cup (Elite Women’s Hockey League) as well.

THE FIRST OLYMPIC TOURNAMENT, TURIN 2006

My first olympic tournament  was at Turin, Italy, 2006. It was definitely a very unusal experience: I was young and a little bit unaware of what was going around me. I couldn’t understand that I was competing at Olympic Games. My team was playing very good, we managed to beat USA in the semifinal, but we lost to Canada in the final game. We made a huge upset, because for the first time at one of the Olympic tournaments in women’s hockey, team USA lost to a team other then Canada. The Swedish national men’s team won gold, and women’s team silver medals in Turin. We were national heroes. I fully recognized our true success when I found myself, with a medal on my chest, in front of over 200.000 excited people in Stockholm. They were all cheering for us. We celebrated the whole night, and it is a memory I will never forget.

Fireworks in the design of the Olympic rings is a highlight moment during the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Turin, Italy,  Photo by Shealah Craighead

THE SECOND OLYMPIC TOURNAMENT, VANCOUVER 2010.

The second Olympic Tournament was more real for me. From the psychological angle, it was easier to prepare for these Games. But we did not expected such an atmosphere in Vancouver. The crowd was insanely crazy, but in a positive way. Everything around you was  hockey, hockey and nothing else. We only traveled to the Ice rinka and back to the Olympics city, so it wasn’t hard to keep our focus on  games. Unfortunately, Swedish women’s national ice hockey team has not been as successful  as the previous Olympics: we lost to  Finland in the bronze medal game. Anyways, I would reccomend every athlete to experience and feel such a hockey spirit and atmosphere as it has been in Vancouver. That’s something you remember for entire life.

A detail from the opening ceremony of the Olympic Tournament in Vancouver, 2010

THE THIRD OLYMPIC TOURNAMENT, PYEONGCHANG 2018

These days, I am preparing for my third Olympic Tournament, this time as a referee. When I retired as an active player, I was thinking more about refeering, and wanted to try it. I think that we need more referees that have played ice hockey at the highest level. There are many details about the game that are so hard to understand, if you aven’t been playing on that level.

So, I got my license the first year as a referee. I’ve planned everything about my furture career, and worked to realise that 100%. Currently, I practice 5-6 days a week including games, some days I practice 2 times a day. I have a training scheduled for the entire season, and I have done everything for this Tournament. It’s been hard, there are so many good referees that do not got selected. That’s why I’m very proud and excited to go.

The third Winter Olympic Games – as a referee

HOCKEY, GOLF AND THE DOG OBEDIENCE COMPETITION

Currently, I work at the Scandic Hotels as a Sales Manager. I’m married to my husband Johan, and we have a 18 months old son. He doesn’t play hockey, since he is a little too young. 😀 We live in Stockholm, and we are a small, happy family. Beside hockey, I like to play golf and compete with my dog in obedience and tracking as well.

At the end of my story,I want to point out that if you have a dream and specific goals, nothing is impossible. You should just work very hard and do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. It’s up to you!

 

Samantha Kawejsza – hockey is not a fairytale

Samantha Kawejsza is a 19 year old from the US who definitely likes ice hockey. As she likes to say, Hockey is not just a game, it’s competition and fight. It is a way of thinking and living. The greatest benefit she has gained from hockey are the friends from around the world, she will have for a lifetime. She claims to be an “extremely laid back” hockey player. Her wish is just to go out and play the game, because it’s fun and a great pleasure spending her time on the ice.

Samantha Kawejsza with her sister Cecily

MY FAMILY HAS ALWAS SUPPORTED ME 

I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, and began playing hockey when I was 4. My mom played as a child, so naturally she got me and my 2 other sisters involved as soon as she could. My family has always supported me through my hockey career. When I was 10, we moved to Syracuse, NY. I played there for the Camillus Cougars, one year with boys, and then for U12 girls ice hockey team. My mom coached this team, and continued to coach me up until 2013. The only year she did not coach me, was the year I played  on Syracuse Nationals, a Tier 1 elite travel team, where some of the best girls in the area played. I didn’t really enjoy my time there since I hardly played.

Sam with her mom, Jenee Kawejsza

So, my mother created a new team, the Syracuse Blazers, which was at the Tier 2 level. Our group was great, made of all Tier 1 girls who had been cut from the former club. We only lost 3 games that season, and won close to every tournament we went to. We made it to states, but lost in the second round by 1 goal. That year of hockey was the one I enjoyed the most. I never had more fun playing hockey, than when I was on this team.

THE WINNER OF THE FIRST BRIAN TARDIFF AWARD

After that season, I went to play for the Ontario Hockey Academy in Canada. I stayed there for 3 seasons, until I graduated in 2016. I made some amazing memories there, and every day I wish I could go back and make more. While at OHA, I received two awards I am very proud of: MVP in 2016, and the first Brian Tardiff Award. Brian was a scout for the OHA, and worked at the school for many years. He was diagnosed with ALS in my second year. He died from the disease less than two years after he was diagnosed. It was heartbreaking for the entire school. I was extremely honored and grateful to receive this award.

Taylor Davis and Samantha Kawejsza

HOCKEY IS NOT A FAIRYTALE – THERE ARE MANY UPS AND DOWNS

With the other interviews I have done, I found out that almost all of the girls I interviewed didn’t have any bad hockey memories. I was surprised and wondered how that could be possible? The situation in sports is similar to that in life: ups and downs are changing, and it’s not always fair. Nobody has talked about it so far, and I want to emphasize that we need to be realistic.

Hockey is not a fairytale. I think the worst memory I had while playing hockey was just not being played at all, when I played for the Syracuse Nationals. I got close to no playing time, and it was making me question my love for hockey. It’s hard to remember why you play the sport. To make things harder, while playing for that team, my 8 year old sister passed away from a cancerous brain tumor. This definitely made hockey and life a lot harder, but I have learned how to manage.

  1. I WILL WANT THESE GIRLS IN MY LIFE FOREVER

    Currently, I am in school working towards a Criminal Justice degree. I have no idea what I want to do with that degree yet, but I enjoy all the classes that I take. I play Division III women’s ice hockey at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. When we win a game, we all celebrate by screaming the lyrics to “Drops of Jupiter” by Train, as loud as we can. The girls on my team are ones that I know I will want in my life forever.

  2. “I am an extremely laid back hockey player!”
  3. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IF YOU PUT THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WORK IN

  4. I really don’t have any future plans at the moment. I am just seeing where life takes me. I’m unsure where I want to live when I’m older, or what I want to do. I know that one day I will figure it all out, and that everything will fall into place.
  1. My message to young players would be to work as hard as they can when they’re young. Try to create good hockey habits that you will use for the rest of your career. When you get older it is harder to make small things a habit and if you lack them, then you may fall behind. But anything is possible if you put the right amount of work in and want it bad enough.

 

 

The Ice Queens are ready for the upcoming holidays

The Ice Queens are ready for the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The last games of the first part of the championship are finished, the suitcases and bags are already packed.  The scene of the family home is flashing in the air. We can already feel the well-known scent of baked cookies with almonds and cinnamon, as well as we can hear the shuffiing of festively decorated gifts under the Christmas tree. Yes, holidays are  here, and we’ve been wondering, how they are celebrated in the world of women’s hockey?

FINLAND – A CHRISTMAS CALENDAR

Emma Terho

There is a tradition in our club to have a Christmas calendar. During December, every other day, a different female hockey player is represented on our FB page and Instagram profile. Of course, this is not an ordinary presentation – every girl gets a short, cute story and special Christmas look, as you can see on the photos. For those who want to find out more about our tradition, let them take a look on the FB profile Blue Espoo Naiset, or on Instagram bluenaiset – says Emma Terho, the Olympic bronze winner in ice hockey from Finland.

 

 

CANADA – SECRET SANTA, AN UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER AND A GINGERBREAD HOUSE

Krista Yip-Chuck

The last four years my team has always returned to school the day after Christmas, which is still a holiday for Canadians. So, to celebrate, we hold our own “Secret Santa” gift exchange, where each girl on the team receives a gift anonymously. After opening it, the receiver has to guess which one of her teammates gave it to her. The gifts are always personal and very funny. We also watch the start of the IIHF World Juniors U-20 Boys Hockey Championship. Of course, there is always a big rivalry between the Canadians and Americans on the team. – these are the words of  Canadian Krista Yip-Chuck, a former Yale team captain, and the future member of the Latvian women’s ice hockey national team.       .  

Stacey Scott with her teammates
Stacey Scott is a Canadian hockey player, playing in Europe as well.:
On my team in Canada (Western University), we usually have a dinner, and everyone wears an ugly Christmas sweater. Then we would have a gingerbread house competition, and then do a gift exchange, either doing a secret Santa style or we played a gift stealing game. It was always very funny, and we really liked those parties.
A ginger house – a part of Christmas tradition

SERBIA – DELICIOUS FOOD AND SANTA ON SKATES

In our club (HK Vojvodina), we celebrate Christmas and New year holidays at once. – says the mother of two young sisters hockey players, Tamara and Jana Radović. The youth (girls and boys), their parents and family members, coaches and senior players, we are all invited to the ice rink. Everyone of us brings something to eat and drink, mothers make some pies and cakes for everyone to share. Last year all the kids got symbolic presents from Santa on skates, knitted boots with candies inside. We also had an exhibition Christmas game.

 PHILIPPINES –   CHRISTMAS PARTY IN A RESTAURANT

In Philippines it is very warm in this part of the year: the normal temperature is about 34oC. We have a Christmas party with all Federation members, youth, female and male players, and parents. Our president owns a restaurant where all our events are typically hosted, including the Christmas party this year. – says Danielle Sabido Imperial, the captain of the Philippines national women’s ice hockey team. Everyone is free to sit where they want, and people usually give around gifts. After the dinner, we move to a bar connected to the restaurant where we can hear speeches from Federations officials and team members. The atmosphere is relaxing, and we enjoy being together.

Danielle Sabido Imperial with the Pilipines’ hockey colleges

SLOVAKIA – SECRET SANTA AND EXIBITION CHRISTMAS GAME

Lenka Čurmova

 Every year for Christmas we do secret Santa, and we really enjoy the gifts excange. This Christmas I got two sweat coffee mugs, as I am a BIG coffee lover. We play an exhibition Christmas game with boys as well, against each other.  After that, we have a Christmas dinner together. 🙂 It’s  very nice to spend entire day in “Christmas hockey” atmosphere , get presents, and have fun as well . – says Lenka Čurmova, a member of the Slovakian national women’s ice hockey team.

A Slovakian Christmas exhibition game

SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC – A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SURPRISE

In my country, December is like your summer vacation, the longest holiday of the year. So, hockey players usually do not celebrate together Christmas. But we did it with our national women’s senior team, on the Qualification tournament in Bulgaria this year.

Dalene Rhods with her national teammate

                     

Our managers surprised us before our last game again Belgium – says Dalene Rhode, a member of the national women’s team of the South African Republic. We had a Christmas party on tour, where our managers planned an amazing evening for the last day. There was secret Santa, and it was so much fun. We all had Christmas headwear, and decorated tables, with some good Christmas music.

UKRAINE – PRESENTS, FUNNY GAMES, BARBEQUE AND HOCKEY

Tatyana Tkachenko from Ukraine is the president (and the player as well) of the Dnepr Queens women hockey club:
We celebrate Christmas and New Year, as well as other holidays, with the team, like a family. We gather together and get the presents for our kids, play funny games, enjoy barbeque party and play hockey as well. Every year before the New Year’s eve, we organize a special holiday hockey game. We have fun on ice, we enjoy being together, and congratulate each other upcoming holidays, with the best wishes for the future.
The Dnepr Queens womens ice hockey club
 My dear, brave and gorgeous ice Queens, merry Christmas and happy New 2018 year! I wish you all the best in the future, to you and your family, friends and teammates. Let health, success, happiness and love accompany every further step you make!

 

Sorsha Sabus – a girl from the frozen pond who’s reached the stars

Sorsha Sabus is a young ice hockey player from Germany, who definitely knows what she wants. She plans to study in Germany or elswhere in Europe, read a lot, ski, hike, take photos, coach, and, of course, play hockey. She’s been always following her heart, and, from a little girl who was rejected to play hockey with older boys – she reached the Top division in women’s hockey.

Sorsha Sabus

A STORY FROM A FROZEN POND

My first steps in skates on the ice have been on a frozen pond close to the town I live in, (Landshut, Bavaria, southern Germany). After I had gained a little confidence with the new feeling in skates, I’ve wanted to play hockey with older boys from my town. But they didn’t let me in, because I was not good enough. This has motivated me to become better at hockey. I wanted to show them that I am definitely able to play and compete with them.

When I was 6, I joined the hockey club EV Landshut, and through practicing soon made a lot of progress.  I looked up for those boys from the pond again. And, guess, they still didn’t let me play with them. Now I was simply too good for them! 😀 But, I didn’t care about it anymore. I have found the sport I enjoy, and it is great pleasure and fun when I play it. My parents have never expected me to play hockey for that long, but I am glad I have proved them they were wrong.

photo by: Sebastian Humm    http://www.humm-photography.de/

TOGETHER WITH BOYS AND GIRLS

So, at the beginning I was practicing together with boys in Landshut: When I was 13, I had to change the club, because girls of my age weren’t welcome anymore. My new club was TSV Erding, but it was another boys’ team. At the same time, I also joined my first women’s team, ESC Planegg. Now, I am in ERC Ingolstadt, and this is my second season here. Therefore, today I play in Erding with boys and in Ingolstadt with girls.

I HAVE PLAYED 3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

For the first time at the age of 12 I got invited to a camp with the U15 women’s national team. At the age of 15, I was able to join the U18 women’s national team. In total, I have played 3 World Championships with the U18 team. I can say I am very proud for being a member of the team that won gold medal on the World Championship IA division in Hungary. We were promoted to the Top division for the next championship, among the best girls hockey players in the world. Lately, I got the chance to play my first games with the senior national team, and I wll gladly take part in it.

World Championship WW18 in Hungary, 2017. Gold medal and promotion to the World’s Top Division

The best memories I relate to hockey are two camps I’ve participated in: the IIHF Development Camp in Finland and the IIHF High Performance Camp in the US. In those camps I have been able to get friends  all around the wrold. The ability to learn from well-known and acknowledged world coaches has been a great experience for me, as well.

WORKING AS A VOLUNTEER

Currently I am an 18 years old volunteer at my boys club. In June 2017 I finished school with the German „Abitur“. Afterwards, I got certification to be a coach. As a volunteer I work in the office in the morning, and as an assistant of the coach, on the ice, from noon to afternoon.After work I join my own boys team in practices. Next year I want to go to university but am not sure on what do I want to study yet.

Sorsha loves to ski in her free time

On the weekends (the only time we don’t have practices) we almost always have games, either with the boys or the girls. If there is actually a day off, I like to go skiing or hiking, I read or take photographies. When I was still in school, I thought about playing hockey in the US, but eventually came to the conclusion that this would not be the right path for me. I decided to do a voluntary social year of service instead. I plan to go to university in Germany, or any of the neighboring countries afterwards.

At the end, I want to tell other younger girls-players something: Always be aware of what YOU want, not what others expect from you! Only if you believe in what you do, there will be progress.

 

Estelle Ip – a passionate hockey player from Hong Kong who adores cooking

Estelle Ip is a passionate hockey player from Hong Kong, who lives in Boston and adores to cook. She plays soccer and field hockey as well, and dreams about developing women’s hockey in countries they don’t have this sport.  Perhaps it would be a great choice for her, since, even when she’s losing a game, she never gives up. As she likes to say, when you really want something, you will find the way to do it.

Estelle Ip

i FELL IN LOVE WITH HOCKEY OVER A TV SCREEN

I started playing hockey when I was 6. Our school in Hong Kong was hosting an after-school extra curricular’s fair, that allowed students and parents to see what’s available. The fair was huge and included everything – from science clubs to soccer. I was a big sports fun, and had already signed up for judo, taekwondo, tennis, and soccer. But when my parents went around to see other activities, I stopped in front of a booth that had a giant TV, playing a NHL hockey game. I probably stood there for over 30 minutes, just watching the game. Seeing that, signed me up. Though I was mainly interested in watching the TV, hockey became to be my favourite sport.

A tryout for the China olympic team and the CWHL Kunlun red stars team. Estelle with some fellow asian hockey players from all over the world.

I am in ice hockey for 15 years now. I’ve played for many hockey teams, but mainly for The Hong Kong Typhoons Ice Hockey Club and  Hong Kong Women’s Ice Hockey Organization.

I also played in the Hong Kong National ice hockey team. I’ve grown up with most of these women in Hong Kong, and while I was one of the youngest on the team, they were like a family to me. It’s always nice to travel with your hockey family and play a sport that you love. Our first year on the World Championship, we lost every single game. The second year, we came back and placed in 2nd place.

Estelle in action

MY BIGGEST SUCCES IS BEING ABLE TO CALL THAT TEAM – MINE

There have been many successfull moments throughout my hockey career. For example, some OT goals during important games. But my biggest success was that I captained the hockey team Northeastern Huskies in my University. We played in the ACHA Division 1 level against other schools in the US. Last year we averaged around 10 players each game. While every game was exhausting, our team never stopped working hard, and put in our very best effort. We lost every single game the first half of the season, but never gave up, and pulled in two wins. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment. Working hard really paid off. I remember that at the end of that game, many of my teammates left the ice wanting to throw up from exhaustion. So, my biggest success is being able to call this team mine. My team that consisted of a group of fantastic girls who wore their hearts on their sleeves, and literally gave everything they had in that season.

With her teammate from Northeastern Huskies

IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR HOCKEY FAMILY

I am majoring in Mathematics and Business Administration (Finance). I’m not sure what I want to be yet, but definitely something along the lines of data analytics, trading, or business/client solutions at a big institution. I also like to play soccer, field hockey (goalie), and various sports. I LOVE cooking and will cook for friends when I have the time.

COOKING WITH PASSION

I love eating all kinds of food – but most of all Asian foods, because of the different spices. You know, every country and city have their own style of cooking, and it reflects on their culture. I gained an interest in cooking recently, when I had to start to prepare food for myself (beginning of college). My hobby is watching cooking channels, or watching my friends cook. I often ask my parents for home recipes, so that I can try and recreate various dishes. My childhood dream has always been to be a food critic so that I can combine my two favourite things – travel and eating. I also love cooking for my friends, so maybe one day I can have my own private kitchen.

Making plans for the future

i’VE BEEN FORTUNATE TO MEET PEOPLE ALL AROUND THE WORLD JUST BY PLAYING HOCKEY

If you ask me for my future, the truth is I don’t have a lot of plans, but I do plan to play hockey until I am physically unable to play. A goal of mine is to work on developing women’s hockey in countries that doesn’t exist. I would like to tell to all younger players to keep playing hockey. It is not only a good way to exercise. It will help you connect with people all around the world. I have been very fortunate to do that just by playing hockey! If you feel like giving up, pick yourself up, and prove to yourself and everyone else that you’re better.

At the end, I want to thank my parents for supporting me, especially since ice hockey is a very unconventional and unorthodox sport for an Asian female living in Hong Kong. But it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, thank you mom and dad!

Miguel Poissant – a Canadian boxer who’s been teaching girls how to fight

Miguel Poissant is a 28 years old Canadian, who’s been playing and coaching ice hockey whole life, and finally became – a professional boxer. Maybe it sounds weird to other people, but for him it is such a normal thing. As he likes to say, it is important to be a sportsman, to fight honestly and with the passion, always trying to win. Whether it is hockey, golf or boxing, that is less important.

A DREAM OF A LITTLE BOY POISSANT

When I was a boy, I dreamed of appearing on the Sports Channel. At that time I was a hockey player. I remember I was watching Montreal Canadiens with my father Daniel, and told him, one day I’m gonna be on TV as well. And I’ve fulfilled my promise, but not as a hockey player or a coach, but as a professional boxer.

Miguel Poissant (Instagram: mig_boxe)

I play hockey since I was 3. Last year I was playing in the Waterloo Bar Le Devin club, and this season I am the member of the Marieville Red Knights, in the LHSR (Ligue de Hockey Sénior du Richelieu), in Canada.

Two years ago, I became a hockey coach as well. I was an assistant of the head coach for midget BB (boys). I was also a head coach for bantam AA and midget AA (girls ) in the Ligue de Hockey Feminine de Developpement Quebec.

Considering hockey, there are huge diferences between boys and girls. Boys are physically stronger, their game is much faster, the competition among them is far more expressed than girls. As their coach, you have to be much tougher.

Miguel Poissant and  The Remparts

TEACHING GIRLS TO FIGHT

Girls are much more emotional. Sometimes it is easy to deal with it, sometimes more difficult. But they are definitely more open to tips. If you demonstrate a shot, a boy will not ask much questions, but he will think he can do it better. A girl will look at you very carefully, and ask for advice how to do it best.. They have a totally different approach to the game. You do not need to have a tough character in order to coach a girl hockey player. Due to the fact the contact is not allowed in the game, they develope some other qualities. I’ve used to have a girl player who had been playing with the boys. When she came into my team, she was sitting on the bench the whole first part of the season. She could not resist to play without contacts, and the referees were constantly punishing her. Later on, she became one of the best player of the team.

I want to tell you that coaching those girls was the part of the AA elite hockey, just one level lower then University hockey. After college, Canadian girls hockey players have 2 options: Canadian university, or NCAA. My objective was to see them playing at the highest level.  But, maybe 5% of my girls gonna make it that far.

Miguel with his father Daniel Poissant

TODAY I’M LIVING MY DREAM

I quit coaching girls because of my boxing. I was turning pro, and didn’t have time to do both jobs. Elite coaching takes so much time, so I couldn’t make it. I do not regret it, because today I’m living my dream. From the other side, I still play high level hockey for my age. But I surely miss coaching. Today boxing is the main part of my life. I am working very hard, and my only goal is to enjoy the ride, and retire healthy.

 At the end, I would like to say I really don’t know when will I stop playing hockey. But I definitely know if i become a dad one day, I will not coach my kid! I don’t want to be subjective, and my wish is to let my kid grow by his/her own in the hockey world. And let him or her live the experience that they have to live by themselves! But I will always be there for support and quick tips.

That was the story of a professional boxer, and I’ve really enjoyed writing it. At the end I want to share one of the photos I’ve found in Miguel’s photo album. I don’t know who’s the author, but I hope he will not be mad at me for sharing it.