I remember the exact moment I saw Aneta Lédlová for the first time. It was 7 years ago, at the mixed (boys/girls) international ice hockey tournament in Prostejov, Czech Republic. I remember how she walked off the ice rink, with her hands in pockets and a snapback turned upside down. As some other girls from Czechia, Slovakia, Germany and Serbia, Aneta also played for the Dívčí hokej team. The team was brought together to the Tournament by a Czech Pavel Krček, a great supporter and fan of female hockey.
I KNEW I HAD BEEN LOOKING AT THE FUTURE HOCKEY STAR
Lédlová was wandering around the ice, stopping occasionally to take a look at the running game. She looked so relaxed and serene. But, an hour later, I couldn’t take my eyes of her. In a word, she was absolutely brilliant: her skating, puck handling and shooting left me speechless. At that very moment, I knew I’d been looking at the future star and the big name in the worldwide women’s hockey. And I was right.
A PERSON WITH A RARE CHARACTER AND MORAL VALUES
Her friends and team mates have great respect for Ledlova. Many of them are aware that they can learn a lot from her, not just in hockey, but also in life, because of her exceptional character and moral values. She is the one who will listen to you patiently, and give the best advice. She’s very hard working and focused, but she creates the mood that’s exciting and fun – her sense of humor is outstanding and witty. That’s why people love her and enjoy her company.
A PRECIOUS CHRISTMAS GIFT
When I was 3, I got a Christmas gift I fell in love with – roller skates. I put them on my feet and – I skated. Despite being so little, I knew how to skate, and I was really good in it. Since that day, I skated in our flat and outside without ever stopping. After a few weeks, my mom suggested me to try skating on the ice as well. My mother and uncle also played ice hockey when they were young.
And that’s how it all began. As soon as I started skating, I got a stick and a puck, and I felt great, and my family was very supportive.
FROM THE CZECH REPUBLIC, ACROSS CANADA, TO THE STATES
Until I was 18, I played hockey with boys on the local team, in my home town Kadan, Czechia. I also played some games and tournaments for the HC Karlovy Vary, HC Litvinov and HC Slavia Prague. But my primary club still was in Kadan, and I practiced only with them. It was a good experience playing with boys for so long, because I had an opportunity to practice with stronger and faster players, and to grow and develop in the same way they did.
WE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP
When I was 18, I went to Canada, to the Ontario Hockey Academy, in order to play in a High School League. My goal was to play good hockey, but I also wanted to try to get a full scholarship in the US. After 7 months at OHA, I managed to get it. I spent almost two years in the States, studying at The Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania. As far as I know, there were 34 teams, divided into 4 conferences. I played in a College Hockey America (CHA) League. We played both conference games and non-conference games. Last season we won the Championship, and it was an amazing experience.
OVER 50 OFFICIAL GAMES IN THE NATIONAL TEAM JERSEY
Apart from the hockey university competition, I also play for the national women’s ice hockey team of the Czech Republic. I competed at three U18 Worlds, 5 senior Worlds, and I played at 2 Olympic Qualification Tournaments. All in all, I think I have played over 50 official matches in the Czech national team jersey, and numerous friendly games.
It is hard for me to chose the best hockey memory. Whenever I play with the national team, we have a lot of fun. But maybe my dearest memory would be my last U18 World Championship, in Budapest, 2014. We competed with the world’s best female players of that age, and won the 3rd place. I think I will never forget that moment, place and team mates who were there with me.
IT WAS DIFFICULT TO LIVE SO FAR AWAY FROM HOME
When it comes to hockey, I love almost everything. The only thing I do not like is that I can’t live with my family. The last 3 years I spent in the US and Canada. It was very hard for me to live separate from my dearest. I used to call them whenever I could, but I still felt the emptiness for being so far away from home.
BEING WITH MY FAMILY IS THE BEST TIME I CAN HAVE
I am 21 now, and currently I’m preparing for my wedding. For me, she is the best person in the world. She used to play hockey as well, but she was a goalie. Honestly, I love her so much, and I can’t imagine my life without her.
In my free time, I watch movies or do some other things. My hobbies are video games and TV shows. I love to be with my family. Being with them, for me is the best time I can have. Also, in the summer I play Hockey ball. Last year (2017), we (the Czech National Hockey Ball team) won the World Championship.
WORK HARD AND GIVE YOUR BEST FOR HOCKEY
In my future, I want to go and play at the next Olympics in Beijing. I would also like to play hockey in Sweden or Finland. I miss the US, but it is time to have a new experience. My wedding will be in April, and I hope it will be unforgettable. We plan to have kids and family, and start to live a normal life. Honestly, I am very excited about future.
My note to the younger players would be to work hard and give your best for hockey. On the other hand, don’t forget to enjoy it. Hockey is an amazing sport. Playing it, you can have an extraordinary experience, a lot of fun, and friends from all over the world. You can learn a lot about different people and cultures, but most of all – about yourself.