Dalene Rhode is a 24 years old devoted hockey player from the South African Republic, who’s studying to be a teacher. She’s also working at KFC Head Office in the Finance Department. During her free time she plays hockey, and is part of the coaching staff at The Pretoria Capitals as well. She coaches the peewees U12 and U14, and absolutely enjoys and adores her job.
TENNIS, SOCCER, FIELD HOCKEY, SWIMMING AND HIKING
Other than hockey, Dalene loves doing outdoorsy things and participating in other sports like tennis, soccer, field hockey, swimming and hikes. She’s made Junior SA for tennis, where she participated in Egypt. She also played Field hockey, for Provincial teams in Cape Town. Above all, this positive, kind and always friendly young girl is one of 2 registered female IIHF Officials in South Africa. She really enjoys it, and hopes to peruse further at international tournaments. Of course, it will most likely only be when Dalene is not participating in an IIHF tournament as a player.
SHE WILL FIGHT TILL SHE HAS NOTHING LEFT IN HER
According to her friends and teammates, Dalene Rhode is a very unusual player. If you had a chance to see her play hockey, the first thing you notice, would definitely be one of the smallest players with the biggest spirit and crazy energy. Some of her friends claim that they have never seen such short legs move so quickly. She plays her game with no fear, but always respects her opponents. This little dynamite- girl gives 100% effort in a game, she’s very competitive and will fight till she has nothing left in her. Although Dalene might be one of the smallest players on a team, she doesn’t back down to anyone. Some people call her Tasmanian devil, but for her teammates Dalene is a good person, on and off the ice. Many of them are not only proud to call her a team mate, but also a true friend and someone they can rely on.
THAT NIGHT WAS A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE
My joy for skating started when I was 5 and a half, when I went for public skating with my mom. My parents have come from a community where hockey was not well known. One evening, my mother decided to take me out, in order to make me do something different. She took me for a public skating, and I was really surprised. At the age of 5 I never saw or skated on ice before. But, as soon as a stepped onto the ice, it felt great. It was a natural feeling and just the feel of the ice and how it felt gliding across the rink was amazing. That night was a life changing experience and something I quickly grew to love. The next day my mom wasted no time and signed me up to play for ice hockey. I was the only female junior ice hockey player in Cape Town at that time. Nothing stopped me from coming back ever week, I trained and trained and kept going on until I could fall no more and move with the puck.
I REPRESENTED SOUTH AFRICA IN NUMEROUS INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS
Later on, I represented South Africa in numerous International tournaments over the past 8 years. Ice hockey has taught me so many things; it has taught me to be tough, strong, perseverance and to be a leader. Despite me being the tiny little girl, it only made me stronger, brave and outgoing. If I never got involved in ice hockey I wouldn’t be the women/player I am today. My family is extremely proud of me, especially with what I have achieved at this year’s IIHF tournament and how our national team performed.
A PRECIOUS ITALIAN EXPERIENCE
I’ve played hockey in various clubs in South Africa. Now I play for Pretoria Capitals, in the Black Panther ladies team. We compete against the U18 boys teams and also play in the 1st division men’s team. In 2015 I played in Italy for one season, on the EV Bozen Eagles team. It was by far the best hockey experience. I had an opportunity to participate in the EWHL league and Italian Championship as well. One of my dearest memories was the experience in being a part of the Italian team who won the Italian Championship that year. Having to experience that level of playing and competing taught me a lot, and helped me to grow and develop as a player and person.
WITH HOCKEY THROUGH THE WORLD
When it comes to the moments I like to remember, having the opportunity to play in Italy for one season would be definitely on the top. I also cherish a lot of interesting memories from going to the IIHF Development Camp in Finland in 2010. Being introduced to the next level of hockey for the first time in my age group was a precious experience. Also, having to meet players from all over the world and becoming friends with them was a great learning experience. Finally, receiving the Best Player reward for my team and being top goal scorer, alongside Femke (Belgium) and Ela (Croatia) during The Qualificaton tournament of the II B Division in Bulgaria, has been by far the best memory and best tournament for me personally.
THE WOMEN WHO’S NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING
When it comes to my future plans, my priority is to complete my degree in Teaching and psychology. In the next 5 years I would also like to see myself developing female ice hockey in South Africa. My dream is to work on development in general; I’ve always seen myself representing females from all over the world inspiring young kids to take part in all sorts of sports, activities etc. I would also show everyone, including the new generations, that females can also play a man’s sport and also could do so much more than people think we capable of. I’ve always dreamed that I would be labeled as “That Women who’s not afraid of anything.” My wish is to start my own Growth and development program in sport with charities and schools.
I LOVE WORKING WITH KIDS
On the other hand, I love working with kids, they make me feel energized and happy. We enjoy being and practicing together. Every week and hour with them makes a person feel good and positive. I also want to travel and live overseas, in order to learn different cultures and lifestyles, teaching and playing hockey. This is the most common wish of many hockey players: to play, travel and meet new people from all over the world.
MAKE THE BEST OF IT WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG
Finally, a message to the younger players: have fun and enjoy the game. Make the best of it while you’re young. Don’t let the pressure of the sport get to you, always remember why you play the sport and drive on that.