Elena Sans Pascual: Playing Hockey for Spain Completely Changed My Future Plans

Elena Sans Pascual is a charming 17 years old Spanish girl who likes to travel and play hockey. She was born and used to live in Barcelona, together with her family, her mom Meritxell, dad Enric, older sister Maria, and a dog Snitch. Recently Elena moved to Pamplona, for hockey and school. Now she lives in the house of her coach, together with his family.

She is currently on the last year of her schooling, and is preparing for the final exam, so the next step would be attending an university. Elena practices hockey three days a week, and the rest of her time she spends in studying. In her free time, she likes watching football, especially her favorite teams FC Barçelona and Liverpool FC. This young lady likes many things, but the ones she enjoys the most are certainly ice cream and churros filled with chocolate.

HOW A FIGURE SKATER BECAME A HOCKEY PLAYER

I started playing hockey when I was 7 or 8 years old. My family lived next to an ice rink, where my older sister liked to spend Saturday afternoon figure skating. I was also  interested in it, so, one day I decided to give it a try. In the very beginning, l was just attempting to maintain a balance and not fall. But, after a lot of practice, I got better. It was one of my coaches who realized the figure skating wasn’t the best sport for my temper. I always wanted to be the fastest, and win in every single activity.That’s why she suggested to my parents to take me to hockey. They accepted her advice, and one day we all went to a senior hockey match. It was an amazing experience for me, especially when the players started fighting. At the very moment, I looked at my mom and said without hesitation: ‘I want to do that”. My family was very supportive. They themselves have been very involved in the idea of making a team, and they are still doing it.

Elena with her dog Snitch

MY DAD USED TO DRIVE ME 485 KM FROM ONE RINK TO ANOTHER

I started practicing hockey with the boys in the FC Barcelona, in Barcelona, Catalonia. A few years later, when I was 11-12, I also started playing with the girls, for the CH Huarte team in Pamplona. It was a very exciting and tiring period in my life. My dad used to drive me around 485 km  (300 miles) from one rink to another, and it usually took us 4 and a half hours. But love for hockey was stronger than any effort, and we never gave up.

One season I also had played on the Ice Blue Cats women’s team from Barcelona, but the season after I came back to Pamplona. Finally, two years ago, I moved to Huarte. Now I’m trying to finish my last two years of school,  playing hockey with both  girls and boys under 17.

‘In future, I will keep playing hockey and trying to improve my skills.”

A PROMOTION TO IIA DIVISION FIRST TIME EVER

When I turned 15, I started to play for the national team of Spain. I played my first Women’s U18 Championship Division II, Group B at home, in Jaca, Spain. A year after that I played at U18  Women’s World Championship Qualifications for 1B Division. A month later, I also competed for Spain in the Women’s World Championship of 2B Division at Iceland. That year we also played at the Four Nations Tournament U18 in Hungary, and the Pre-Olympic tournament with the senior team. Finally, this year is my last in the U18 team. In the last few months we have already played the U18 Women’s World Championship Qualification in Mexico. And, as a cherry on the top, a few days ago our National Team  finally managed to take top spot in 2018 Women’s World Championship of IIB Division, claiming a promotion to IIA Division first time ever.

They’ve made a historical hockey success ever for Spain

WE JUST TRIED TO GIVE OUR BEST IN EVERY SINGLE GAME

Honestly, we didn’t think of winning the gold. We just tried to give our best in every single game, without giving up. On the first day, we had a hard game against Iceland. We won, and the first obstacle was behind us. In the next two rounds, we also beat Romania and Turkey. The last game was against undefeated Chinese Taipei. We committed ourselves hearts and souls to the game, showing on the ice our fighting spirit and how much we wanted to win. When we’d heard the the final whistle sound, I couldn’t believe we’d made it. This was the common success of all players, technical staff and our coach, Christian Yngve. I’m so thankful to him. He did a lot for us during these past 3 years.

‘We were just trying to give our best, and play one game by another-“

An opportunity to play hockey for the National Team of Spain, has completely changed all my future plans. Thanks to that, I realized how I love hockey. I’m still playing with the same passion, and feel great among all these amazing teammates and friends.

THEY’VE TAUGHT ME MANY HOCKEY AND LIFE LESSONS

Ever since I started playing hockey, I had several coaches, but one of my favorites has been Sergio Gimenez. He coached me when I was younger, at the very beginning of my hockey career. The other favorite coach of mine is Swede Christian Yngve, the coach of our national team. Thanks to these guys, I’ve learnt all I know of hockey. They have not been just my hockey coaches, they’ve taken a great care of me, teaching me many life lessons as well.

Elena with her coach Christian Yngve

YOU MUST NOT ALLOW THE DEFEATS TO HINDER YOU ON YOUR WAY TO THE SUCCESS

In my future, I will try to keep playing and improving my hockey knowledge and skills to the best level I can. I would also like to coach kids or a women’s team one day.
      
My message to the other girls would be to keep on doing what they really like and to never give up. It doesn’t matter how high your goal is – if you really want to achieve it, you have to keep on learning, practicing and working hard, and not allow the defeats to hinder you on your way to the success.


      

 

 

 

 

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