Marisa Reese Maccario: Love the Sport for a Reason, and Don’t Ever Forget It

Marisa Reese Maccario is a 23 years old senior at the University of Connecticut. She’s also a skilled hockey player and a real fighter. Each of her average days consists of going to classes, working, studying, as well as hard on and off ice hockey practices. But she succeeds in coming to an end with all of her duties and responsibilities. Sometimes it’s not easy, but hockey players are used to it. Between the practices and attending classes, she runs the social media outlets for the UCONN sport management program. 

Marisa Reese Maccario

Marisa’s big hobby is coloring. She actually started a color journal, so she can write along with drawing and coloring. She usually tries to do that before going to bed, in order to relax after a long and hard day. If she doesn’t color, Marisa normally reads a book. She’s just finished Aly Raisman’s book, which she liked a lot

I JUST FOLLOWED IN THEIR FOOT STEPS

I started skating at the age of 3. My brother and sister, both older, started playing hockey, so I just followed in their foot steps. Though what is interesting is I am a righty (right-handed). My mom was a field hockey coach and in field hockey you can only play righty. So, growing up around field hockey, when it was time to figure out how to hold a stick, I instantly put it in my right hand.

Marisa with her mom, dad and sister Mia

100 GAME WINNING STREAK AND 2 STATE TITLES

I grew up playing with the boys, until I attended St Mary’s of Lynn, where in 8th grade I played for the varsity. The team was very good and I was able to be part of the 100 game winning streak and two state tittles. Later on, I went to prep school at Cushing Academy, in Ashburnham, Massachussets. As a senior, I was an assistant captain senior, and named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year. After that I played for the Boston shamrocks, for a post graduate year (2013/2014), and then I went to UCONN, the University of Connecticut.

NEW PEOPLE AND NEW EXPERIENCES

Every athlete experiences a lot of unforgettable moments in his career. When it comes to my experience, best memories have been just meeting all the people that I have met through the sport of hockey. Going to prep school and then playing Juniors for a year before going to college I got to meet people that I probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with. It is a wealth that can not be experienced by a man who does not engage in sports.

‘Key is to keep a smile on your face and lean on the friends around you.”

KEY IS TO KEEP A SMILE ON YOUR FACE AND LEAN ON THE FRIENDS AROUND YOU

The only bad thing about any kind of sport, including hockey, is just not always being able to be with your family or attending family events. It is not easy to be separate from your dearest. I know even my teammates here at UCONN have experienced that one family event that you missed where they will all facetime you, and the moment when you get off the phone and you start crying because you wish you were with them.

In those hard moments, key is to keep a smile on your face and lean on the friends and teammates around you. They will understand you for sure, because they have already experienced it.

‘Have fun, and remember why you love the sport.”

THE NEXT STEP IS A GRAD SCHOOL

In my future, a Grad school is hopefully the next step, though that means hanging up the skates at a female “professional level”. But, I do believe I will find a league with a couple nights of a week to play in. My brother plays hockey in such a league, and honestly, it would be fun to be on the same ice with him again, just like in old times.

HAVE FUN, AND REMEMBER WHY YOU LOVE THE SPORT

At the end, I would tell younger girls to have fun, and remember why you love the sport. It goes by fast your time, so take full advantage of it. Especially when you get to the college level, you will realize that its not because you want to do It or have to because of your parents. It is important to be aware it is because YOU want to do it. Love the sport for a reason, and don’t ever forget it. 

 

Jana Kivell – the New Zealander Who Lives for Hockey

In a word, Jana Kivell adores hockey. She plays both inline and ice hockey, and is a 17-year-old New Zealander, currently in her last year at high school. Her life revolves around hockey. If she’s not playing or practicing, she’s watching hockey videos at home. Usually, there is not much free time between school, homework, practices and fundraising for international tournaments, so she is always busy.

Jana Kivell

SHE SETS THE BAR HIGH AND LEADS BY EXAMPLE

This young lady loves hockey so much, that some of her coaches are actually pretty sure that Kivell sleeps with her skates on some nights. For them, she is a player ready to absorb everything. They are impressed with her abilities and with the way Kivell reads the game. Although Jana is talented, she has also worked hard to be the player and person that she is now. 

According to her friends, Jana Kivell is an intelligent girl, who definitely takes pride and excels in all aspects of her life. Sometimes she’s pretty quiet, but also super cheeky. She’s a great leader; she sets the bar high and leads by example. She’s kind and hates to see people being treated unfairly.

New Zealanders – The third place in Inline hockey, China 2017

AN AMAZING INLINE HOCKEY CAREER

I started skating on inline skates when I was 4. A few years after, I started to play inline hockey for my primary school. After playing inline hockey for 8 years, when I turned 16, I started playing ice hockey as well. Inline hockey has taken me on many adventures already. One of my favorites was the AAU Junior Olympics in Hawaii, in 2016. In 2017 I went to China, to play at the FIRS Inline Hockey World Championships with the NZ Junior Women and Senior Women teams. We placed third in Junior Women and sixth in Senior. I also scored the most points (28) in the Junior Women’s Division – 14 goals and 14 assists in 9 games.

Jana and her teammate Laura, WCCOA Tournament 2017.

NEW ZEALAND, THAILAND, HONG KONG, MALAYSIA

In 2016 I started to play ice hockey. I played in the NZWIHL, with the Auckland Steel. A few months later I got the opportunity to go to Thailand, to play for the New Zealand U18 Women’s Ice Hockey Team, at the 2017 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia where we won gold. At this tournament myself and some other Kiwis also met some girls from the Philippines team. They invited us to play with them at the 2017 Mega Ice Hockey 5’s in Hong Kong. There were three of us who went and played with them.

I WAS NEVER FAR FROM A RINK IN CANADA

For most of the 2017/18 season, I got the chance to take part in an exchange with the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association in Canada. A program has been allowing female ice hockey players from New Zealand between 15-17 years old to go to Toronto to play and train with the Leaside Wildcats team, for 6-8 weeks. It was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had. Generally, the Canadian culture was very similar to here in New Zealand., other than hockey and temperature. It was summer in New Zealand and winter in Canada when I went on exchange. The temperature was almost a difference of 50 C° at the time. When it comes to hockey, the main difference I noticed was the special plays like power play and penalty kills. The systems were a bit different to here, but mostly similar. It was fun to play with girls that were all the same age as me. I’ve never had that before. The hockey culture in Canada was one of my favorite things to experience. I was never further then walking distance from a rink. Almost every house had a hockey net on the front driveway. It’s the equivalent to rugby here.

Jana with the girls from the Toronto Leaside Wildcats team

I WOULD PLAY HOCKEY EVERY DAY IF I COULD

The best part about playing hockey is getting to play hockey and be a part of a team. I would like to play every day if I could. I also appreciate how many places the game has taken me so far. It is sometimes a challenge to be away from home for a long time, like when I went to Canada for most of the season. I still kept in contact with my friends and family at home. I also got to make some new friends and memories that I wouldn’t have it if I hadn’t gone.

WOMEN’S ICE HOCKEY AT NEW ZEALAND

The hockey community is not very big in New Zealand. We have around 160 registered female ice hockey players, and 3 female club teams, one in the North Island, and two in the South. The women’s club teams do not have age limit, so anyone can play and be in the same team. The women’s season is usually 12 games per team, and goes from November until February. For the rest of the year, there are mixed leagues that girls and boys can play in. A lot of ice hockey players in the North Island also play inline hockey.

The New Zealand U18 Women’s team, Malaysia 2018

At the moment, I just got back from the 2018 WCCOA tournament (top division) with the NZ U18 Women in Malaysia. I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the Alternate Captains for the team this year. We came home with silver.

CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLE

In the future I would like to go to Barcelona in 2019 to play inline hockey at the World Roller Games, the same event that was held in China last year. I want to go as far as I can in hockey, wherever that might be.

One of my coaches says to “control the controllable”. I think that’s really important, because it reminds me that I can only control what I do, and my responses to things on and off the rink. It helps me to stay focused on what I’m doing and keep a level head.

 

 

 

Aneta Lédlová – It’s Time for Big Life Changes

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.

Aneta Lédlová

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.

The 4 Nations Tournament, Budapest 2014, photo by: Somogyi Viktor

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.

The ring in honour of winning CHA League, and CHA Play off.

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.

The bronze at the World Championship in Budapest is one of my favorite memories.     photo by: Somogyi Viktor

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.

The 4 Nations Tournament, Budapest 2014 photo by: Somogyi Viktor

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.

She is the best person I know, and I love her very much.

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.

Playing hockey, you can learn a lot of other people, but most of yourself.

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.

Dalene Rhode: A Girl Who’s not Afraid of Anything

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.

Dalene Rhode

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.

At the last Qualification Tournament in Bulgaria 2017, Dalene got a reward for the Best Player from South Africa

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.

Dalene Rhode: The greatest honor is to represent your country.

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 the Trophy of the Italian Championship

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.

Dalene is one of two registered female IIHF Officials in South Africa

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.

Hockey connects people: Dalene and Estelle Ip (Hong Kong)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Kirsten Nergaard: I’d Like to Live Life to the Fullest

Kirsten Nergaard is not your average 19 year old American. She is a sophomore at Yale University studying economics, and an outstanding hockey player as well. Some of her hobbies include sailing, skiing, cooking and reading. She loves music and really became a country music fan when she went to camp in Minnesota. According to her friends and teammates, she is a very friendly and outgoing person, willing to help everyone. For them, Kirsten is a beautiful person, both inside and out. She doesn’t take anything for granted, and works extremely hard to reach her goals. People love her for she is a caring person and a loyal friend. When it comes to hockey, Kirsten is a quiet hard worker, who will always give her best to better herself and her team.

Kirsten Nergaard

MY DAD BUILT A HUGE ICE RINK IN OUR BACKYARD EACH YEAR

My dad is Norwegian, so he absolutely loves all winter sports. He’s the one who  introduced me to skating when I was 2 years old. He built a huge ice rink in our backyard each year (although because the weather is milder where I live in Connecticut, so it didn’t freeze every year). 

I started to play ice hockey at age 5. I looked up to my older brother and wanted to be like him. Of course, my dad was thrilled about it, but my mom initially preferred that I take up another sport. But when she had seen how much I loved it, she changed her mind, and became also incredibly supportive.

My dad built an ice rink in our backyard each winter.

WE COULD PRACTICE AND PLAY UNTIL OUR PARENTS PICKED US UP

When we were little, my girl friends didn’t understand my love for the sport. But as I grew up, I found other friends who also loved the sport. I was lucky because one of the boys that I played hockey with had an indoor rink at his house. All of our teammates practiced there.  We were welcome almost every day – we could practice, play and do our homework until our parents picked us up. It was so much fun! I played on boys’ teams until high school. Then I went away to school, and played on girls varsity team.

AN IMPRESSIVE ATHLETE’S CAREER

When it comes to her athletic experience, the list of Kirsten’s achievements is truly worthy of all attention and admiration. She was selected in all years eligible (2012-2015) to be in the Team USA National Camp. (In the US, in order to reach the national team selection pool, players have to go through both regional and national player development camps. The Team USA national development camp players are selected from the best performers in the regional camps.) 

A hockey jersey is a part of the wardrobe that Kirsten wears every day.

I was selected to my regional camp as a representative of my home state of Connecticut in 2010-2015, as well as to the National Player Development Camps in 2012-2015. When it comes to the School’s competition, in 8th grade at Greenwich Academy, I was a starter on my school’s varsity team. I changed schools for grades 9 through 12 to Phillips Exeter Academy. At Exeter, I was the second highest scorer on the team in grade 9 and in grade 11, and was the high scorer in grade 10. I was also co-MVP that year and selected as one of the best players in the state of New Hampshire (where my school was), which is called “All-State.” I was the captain in grade 12, and although I was hurt and missed half the season, I was still named to the All-State team again.

WE MADE IT TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI- FINALS

Lastly, in the US club hockey league, when I was younger (up until age 13), I played boys hockey. Starting in high school, I played on a girls team called the East Coast Wizards. In 2012/13, my team went to the National Championship game for the U 14 age group, and finished runners-up (2nd place). I had 3 goals and 2 assists in the championship tournament. In 2013/14, my team made it to the U 16 National Championship semi-finals (final 4) and I had 4 goals, 2 assists in 5 games in that tournament.

The Yale Girls

YALE AND ME

One of my best memories was playing at the “Yale Whale” when I was 7.  I thought it was a wonderful place and told my parents that same day I would attend Yale and play there. And here I am, 11 years after: some dreams really come true, if you work hard and give your best to reach them.

Another favorite memory was playing on a boys’ pee-wee team at a prestigious tournament in Canada. We had a game in the Pepsi Colisée (where the Quebec Nordiques used to play). I scored and the PA announcer called out the goal, just they do in the pros. I was also interviewed by a Canadian paper during another tournament, which was cool.

‘When I played with boys, I used to wear a skull cap, so the other team wouldn’t know I was a girl.”

I USED TO TUCK THE MY JERSEY INTO MY BREEZERS LIKE GRETZKY

Up until college, I used to roll up my jersey sleeves and have the bottom of my elbow pads showing. I also used to tuck the back of my jersey into my breezers like Wayne Gretzky. Also, when I played with boys, I used to wear an skull cap to hide my long hair, so the other team wouldn’t know I was girl.

TWO MINUTES OF SHAME

If I make a penalty, I definitely wonder if the coach is going to start screaming, but I also think about the brilliant musings of hockey legend Denis Lemieux (from Slap Shot): “You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes, by yourself, you know and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free.”

Kirsten with one of her teammates

I’D LIKE TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST

When it comes to my future plans, I would like to work in finance to eventually help others raise the capital they require to fund their dreams.

 

A Fight? Let Me Show You Who is the Boss

Fights are an integral part of team sports. They are bound to happen when both sides are looking to beat the opponent. Sometimes, fights are due to misconduct and creating a tension on purpose. More often, these fights happen randomly, thanks to intense adrenaline and varying circumstances, in which no one really wanted to hurt a rival.

In ice hockey you can see fights very often. However, in  men’s hockey fighting is far more present, primarily because the rules of the game make it possible. Men’s hockey allows clean body checking, making it much more of a contact sport. Not to mention, it is in men’s nature to be more aggressive, willing to resolve a conflict with their fists,  ‘showing who is the boss”.

I WILL SHOW YOU WHO’S THE BOSS

Of course, from time to time, clashes occur in women’s hockey as well, but certainly not at the same extent as with men’s. Female hockey rules do not allow much physical contact. Ice hitting is forbidden, but rubbing out on the boards is allowed. The game is more based on technical skills. Unlike men, who are likely to get into fistsfights, women mostly solve their conflicts in shorter or longer quarrels. Indeed, women are more inclined to threaten verbally, but less likely to start a fight. However, that doesn’t mean that women’s sports fights don’t occur: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7NdYjByLII

IF THE RULES WERE DIFFERENT, WOULD THE GLOVES COME OFF?

Some people are skeptical when it comes to women’s hockey. They don’t believe women have the ability to be aggressive and fight if need be. However, in reality most women’s hockey leagues have different rules then men’s. This prevents women from being able to do certain things that are more encouraged in men’s hockey.

That said, I wonder: if the rules were different, would women continue to simply threaten, yell and push each other, or would the gloves come off?

What do you think of the hockey fights? Have you ever been in one? Do you think the rules should be changed?

I THINK I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN A BIG FIGHT

Aneta Lédlová (Czechia, 23): Fights like in the NHL league are exaggerated. However it is not uncommon for women to have a small fight in front of the net, when a player sprays, runs or slashes the goalie after the whistle. Even when you are trying to push your way through other players, sometimes it’s unavoidable to come to the blows or a fight. Honestly, I think I have never been in a big fight. But when I played with boys, fights happened often. It was funny. They always wanted to protect me.

I LEARNT MY LESSON

Dalene Rhode (South African Republic, 23): When I was younger I had my moments of pushing and shoving until I was punched and split my lip open. Actually, it’s quite a funny story. I was 13 years old, still playing with boys. We were playing regionals, when one of the bigger guys crossed checked me in the corner. I got up quickly, skated after him, and finally jumped on his back. He then swung me over his shoulder, gave me one punch and slit my lip open. During that time he did not know I was a girl and to this day he feels bad. But, I learnt my lesson.

IT WOULD BE FUN TO BE MORE PHYSICAL DURING THE GAMES

Andrine Furulund (Norway, 19) : Sometimes I find a bit strange that we are  not allowed to play more physically, but the rules are written to be respected. I have been sitting in a penalty box a lot, because I am quite a tall player, so whenever it comes to a collision, smaller players fall down, and I get a penalty. Frankly, I think it would be fun to be more physical during the games, but not too much. I don’t want the hits and fighting to ruin a game.

IF I GET A HIT, I WILL HIT BACK, FOR SURE

Tatiana Shchukina (Russia, 22): Fights are often in hockey, everybody knows that. When I was younger, as a defense player I had a few fights, mostly with boys. But now, as a goalie, I am not in a direct physical contact as the players. I get kicked from time to time, but I do not start it first. If someone hits me, I will hit back, for sure.  But only one hit, not a fight. My defense players will take care for the rest of it.

 

I DON’T FEEL FIGHTS ARE A PART OF OUR GAME

Amalie Andersen (Denmark, 18): I don’t really know what to think about fighting in hockey. It’s funny to see when men do it in the NHL league, but it doesn’t happen a lot in women’s hockey. I think that’s fine because I don’t feel that it’s a part of our game. I have been in a fight once, and that was last year at Worlds with U18, in the game against team Poland. It was in front of our own net, feelings were high. It was an important game, our goalie saved the puck, and a Polish player came in, hit her, and it all escalated.

SOMETIMES YOU GET INTO A FIGHT BECAUSE YOU STAND UP FOR YOUR TEAMMATE

Liga Miljone (Latvia, 20): I don’t think about fights at all,  because if players would have played a clear game then there would no be need for fights. Of course, it sometimes happens when you get into a fight because you stand up for your teammate, but then it is not a real fight. There is maybe a few hits, but nothing huge. Recently I had to react when my teammate got an awful hit. I thought that was absolutely not okay, so I had to interfere and stand up for her.

 

If you read these statements, you would agree that the girls mostly think the same about fights. They definitely occur, for many different reasons, but most of the girls do not pay too much attention to them.

 

 WINNING BY BEING THE BEST AND STRONGEST IS WHAT THE GAME IS ALL ABOUT

Marine Dinant (Belgium, a linesmen at IIHF, 23): I don’t think fighting should be a part of women’s hockey, because it has never been before. If i compare it with the men’s hockey I ref at home, I am happy women do not fight.

When men fight, it takes a lot of time in the game. It’s also a big thing about revenge, and it affects the whole team. I like it more when they play a good hockey game with speed and skills. Then you can see who is better and stronger. If they would allow fighting in women’s hockey, I think you would see a completely different game than they play right now. Now you can see the passion and the skills teams have. By allowing it, I think it would be less of it. Winning by being the best and strongest team is what the game is all about.

THE ONLY THING YOU WILL REMEMBER WILL BE THE FINAL RESULT

We all seem to agree what the game is really about: to play clean, to stay calm under pressure, to be the best teammate and athlete you can be, and, of course, to use our words and skills, and not our fists. It is clear that women’s hockey is different than men’s in many ways, but in the end, the only thing you will remember about the game, whether it’s men or women’s, is the final result.

 

Anna Kublina: Born to be a Leader

If you had a chance to see Anna Kublina play hockey, the first thing you notice would definitely would be her energy and a fighting spirit. This 20 year old girl from Latvia IS a true leader of her team. According to her teammates, Anna is never afraid of talking in front of the people. She knows how to make them listen, as well as to challenge them. She plays her game with no fear, but she always respects her opponents. She is the one who is always in a good mood and ready to make her friends and teammates  laugh. Kublina creates a winning atmosphere in a locker room as well as on an ice rink, but she is also a reliable and loyal friend.

Anna Kublina

THEY TOUGHT I WOULD GET BORED OF HOCKEY VERY SOON

I was 7 years old when I started playing hockey. One of Latvia’s hockey players, Kaspars Daugavins, persuaded me to go with him and try playing hockey. And I accepted it. My parents reacted like: ”Oh yeah, she’s probably going to play it  for a month, and then she’ll get bored!” But, they were wrong: I’m still playing it,  ha-ha. 😀

I ALWAYS WANTED TO PLAY IN THE UNITED STATES

I started playing hockey in my birthplace Jelgava, Latvia. Until I was 17, I played with the boys. We were a good team. Together we won some tournaments, and Latvia’s Championship. However, at age 15, (the season 2012/2013) I started playing for the women’s Hockey Club Laima as well.  A few years later, in the season 2015/2016, when I was 18, I decided to go to the US. I played there for the Washington Pride team. This was an awesome experience for me, because I’ve always wanted to go and play in the States. The team was very welcoming and friendly. The team spirit was always on the high level. We won that season the JWHL (Junior Women’s Hockey League) Championship, and I was proud I had been a part of the triumph.

LATVIA, THE UNITED STATES AND FINLAND

After the States I got an opportunity to go and play in Finland. So, in the past season (2016/2017) I played for the KJT Naiset. It was also a great experience. And now I’m playing for the U18 boys’ team JLSS in Jelgava, women’s hockey team Laima and Latvian national women’s hockey team.

Anna with her teammates, celebrating a goal;    Photo by: hokejs meitenem

WE ALL PLAYED AS ONE FOR ALL = ALL FOR ONE

Since I’ve been playing hockey actively for 13 years, I’m not sure I can count all the great memories I have. But if I still had to choose, my most precious memory would definitely be the one from the World Championships in 2014. The Worlds of the I Division, Group B was held in Riga, Latvia, so we had the opportunity to play it at home. Finally, after 5 games, we managed to win gold, the girls were all so close and the team spirit was great. We all played as one for all, and all for one! It was an amazing feeling to play in front of our families, friends and fans in our country. Even now, I get the goose bumps when I remember our joy and excitement while we were, together in a line, singing our national anthem with the gold medals on our chests.

Anna Kublina: A passionate figher and a loyal friend;  Photo by: Hokejs meintenem

YOU WIN SOME, YOU LOSE SOME

On the other hand, my bad memories are linked to the Worlds 2013 and 2015, when we lost all the games, so we were eliminated from Division I, Group A. Although we had given our best, we couldn’t manage to stay in the Group anymore. But, this is an integral part of the sport: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. However, it is important to never give up and continue to fight.

Right now I am studying Information Technologies at the Latvian University of Agriculture. My average day is consisted of going to lectures at the University,  practicing and playing hockey games. Currently I play for the Jelgava’s U18 boys’ team, and for the women’s hockey team Laima as well. I also play for the Latvian women’s club team, and we participate in Latvia’s U16 Championship.

A detail from the game Latvia-Spain,     The 4 Nations Cup, Katowice,  Poland  2018

I WILL KEEP PLAYING HOCKEY AS LONG AS I CAN HANDLE IT

For now, my main goal is to graduate from the University. Honestly, I don’t really know what will happen after that, but we will see. The only thing I know for sure is that I will keep playing hockey as long as I can handle it, ha-ha. 🙂

Last, but not least, I would tell all younger hockey players to chase their dreams. Even though it might seem impossible or incredibly hard, keep on chasing them. At the end, you will feel amazing, because the hard ones are always the best ones to achieve.

 

Chloe Beaubien: Hockey Has Helped Me in My Fight With Cancer

When I started writing my articles, my only wish was to support women’s hockey and raise awareness of it. But as the time went by, a new feeling started to grow in me. While talking to so many young, skilled and brave girls, I realized how lucky I am to get to know them better. More importantly, how lucky I am to have a chance to show the world who they really are.

Chloe Beuabien is one of the girls I am honored to meet. Although she is only 16, she had the misfortune to face a serious illness. But even though most people would pity this and feel very bad, this young girl decided to fight as hard as she can, because this is what hockey players do. Each hockey player is accustomed to fallings, since each hockey player falls constantly. But they are also accustomed to getting up after each fall, and moving on. Because that’s how the game works: if you want to win, you have to get up and go on.

Chloe Beaubien

THEY FINALLY LET ME TO BE A GOALIE

I was 18 months old when I started skating, and about 3 when I started playing hockey. My journey began in my hometown of Colorado Springs, Colorado. I played for club teams in my area. When I was a mite, I played for 4 years for the Colorado Rampage. During my time there, I played as a forward. It was a great experience. I loved the fact that I got to go on the ice and forget about everything. I learned how to make friends and how to work in a group. I learned, among other things, many life lessons from growing up in the hockey community. From squirts up untill my first year of bantam hockey, I played for the Colorado Springs Jr. Tigers. This is when I first started to play goalie, and I truly fell in love with the game. Honestly, my parents did not like the idea of me playing goalie, and they put it off as long as they could. One practice they finally let me be a goalie and it just felt right I was super happy, and never wanted to go back to being a player. That was when they caved and let me become a goalie.

Chloe with her family

COACHES FROM THE JR. TIGERS ASSOCIATION TRULY MADE ME THE GOALIE I AM TODAY

At the Jr. Tigers Association, I was happy until I became older and needed more. They truly made me the goalie I am today.  Of course, they put me through a lot of ups and downs, but they have showed me that I can push through anything. When I was going through tough times, it made me realize that I wanted to prove them wrong. When the coaches and evaluators in Colorado doubted me, I pushed myself harder. That is where I learned the work ethic I have today.

‘When they doubt me, I pushed myself so much harder.”

THE COMPETITION AT OHA IS UNBELIEVABLE

My only other team has been with the Ontario Hockey Academy. This is a school that has helped me through some of the toughest times in hockey. The competition here is unbelievable. At this very moment, I believe that I am the best goalie that I can be because of the coaching I receive here. They push me every day on and off the ice. Being at OHA has also taught me how to manage my schoolwork and a busy hockey schedule. Coming to OHA has prepared me for college and given me the tools I need to succeeded. This experience is immeasurable for anyone who seriously wants to play hockey and study in the future.

‘Coming to OHA has prepared me for college and given me the tools I need to succeeded.”

THE JOY I FELT INSIDE WAS MORE THAN I HAD EVER EXPERIENCED

One of my favorite memories I’ve had while playing hockey was my second year here at OHA (2016-2017). My team was in the ALS tournament championship. This tournament is dedicated to Brian Tardiff, who was one of the scouts at OHA. He sadly died of ALS not too long ago. Our team wanted to win for him and his family. When the last buzzer went off and we won, the joy I felt inside was more than I had ever experienced.

I HAD THIS THRILL THAT I HADN’T REALLY FELT BEFORE

Another of my best hockey moments was in my first year bantam, when I was 13. My team was in a championship game and I was put into the game down 2-0, with half of game left to play. Late in the third period, we scored two quick goals. When OT had started I had this thrill that I hadn’t really felt before. When the shootout came I let in the first goal, but none after. My team ended up scoring two goals and we won the game. After the dog pile and the hype of the game started to die down, I realized it was that feeling that made me want to keep playing and to continue playing until I made it to the highest level possible.

Chloe Beautbien: ‘I want to continue playing until I made it to the highes level possible.”

I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH SKIN CANCER

One of the worst moments for me was in the summer of 2017. I was diagnosed with invasive malignant melanoma or in regular terms: skin cancer. That was hard for me. I didn’t know if I wanted to do anything, not even play hockey. But after being of the ice a week, I realized that I loved the game too much, and I needed to keep playing it. That diagnosis changed my outlook on everything. I realized that nothing is perfect, and you must fight through everything life throws at you. No matter what I did, I knew that if I was successful in hockey, everything would be okay, and that the cancer would just be a footnote in my life. I had a couple surgeries to remove the cancerous cells and I have to see a bunch of doctors when I’m home. The scars remind me of the fight every day. It doesn’t feel much different right now, but I do have a ton of precautions I have to take for the rest of my life.

‘That diagnosis changed my outlook on everything.”

I WANT TO PLAY FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM

My future plans are to work on my on and off ice skills, and to go to a D1 school for the 2019-2020 school year. While I am in college, I would like to major in social work and minor in psychology. After I graduate, I would like to play for the national team and go to the Olympics. Go USA!

YOU SHOULD ALWAYS DREAM BIG, AND BELIEVE IN IT

My note to young players would be: dream big and never give up. Never let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big. No matter what your dream is, follow it and work hard every day to achieve it. If you succeed or you don’t, at least you will know you gave it your all.

Amalie Andersen: 18 Members of My Family Are Involved in Hockey

While writing about female hockey players, coaches, refs and fans from all over the world, I had the opportunity to meet many girls’ players. Some of them were shy and not very open to talk about their careers. Others just chose to ignore my calls to raise awareness of the female hockey.

Fortunately, Amalie Andersen from Denmark was not one of them. Actually, she was completely different: from the very first moment, she made it clear to me that she wanted to support my goal of developing the image of female hockey on the web. I use this opportunity to say that I am particularly pleased to see that young girls like Amalie become increasingly aware that some goals can only be achieved together, if we are open and honest about it. That is why I am very grateful to her, and to every other girl who has recognized something useful and good in this idea.

Amelie Andersen;  photo by: Jan Korsgaard

I ALWAYS KNEW MY PRIORITIES

My hockey career started when I was 5, but, actually, I was already on the ice for the first time when I was 1 year old. I was kind of born into the hockey world, since my whole family plays it. As far as I know, there are 18 members of my family who play or have played hockey. Therefore, it was such a normal thing for me to do the same. But later on, in my school years, my friends were surprised and amazed by the sport I trained. Some of them didn’t understand why I would spend so much time on my sport, instead of hanging out or going shopping. I didn’t have time for that; I knew my priorities, so I always had to refuse them because of my practices and games. Of course, one day they just stopped asking me to go out with them. I was sad for it, but I knew I had to go on.

Amalie: “I was on the ice when I was 1 year old.”

Later, I moved to a sports school in my hometown, Herning. Honestly, I felt much better there. All my class mates were involved in sport. Therefore they understood why I spend so much time on the rink.

DENMARK, SWEDEN AND THE NATIONAL TEAM

When I started my hockey career I played for my hometown club called  Herning Ishockey. I played there with boys for nine years, till U17.  From the other side, when I was 9, I started to practice with the women’s team as well. When I was 16 I moved to Linköping, Sweden and started to play on the Linköping’s junior girl’s team and for the ladies team as well. And, this year I got a junior contract with the women’s team.

Photo by: Mats Bekkevold

On the side of all this, I have been playing on the Denmark’s national team. I was on the senior team roster for the first time when I was 14. I played my first senior Worlds when I was 15. At the same year, Denmark got an U18 national team, so I joined them as well. And I have been playing on both teams since that.

THE NEW FRIENDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD

One of my dearest hockey memories would be the IIHF camp in Lake Placid, USA. There I met players from other countries, and I saw the facilities for the top teams and what their setup looked like. I also gladly remember all kinds of tournaments with the boys I took part when I was younger. I also loved to go on the girl’s summer hockey camps; it was so much fun for me. I have been on the Maria Rooth’s hockey camp and on the CHS camp in Sweden. And again I met many new players and get a chance to meet again with the friends from all over the world. If I didn’t play hockey I wouldn’t have been travelling so much and that’s a thing I really appreciate.

Amalie with the teammates from CHS camp

BEING INJURED ONLY MADE MA HUNGRIER TO PLAY

Unfortunatelly, I have also some bad hockey memories. During my first year in Sweden, it was so hard for me to be apart from my family, especially from my mom. But that experience helped me to grow and learn to take more responsibility. Of course, I have had injuries, but I have been lucky only to get small ones. Honestly, I always like to see something positive in everything, including the injuries as well. Being injured and watching my team from the stands, only made me hungrier to play the game.

WE ARE A HOCKEY FAMILY, AREN’T WE?

Currently, I am 18, and in my second year of Swedish high school. I moved in here when I was 16, in order to study and play hockey. At home I have my mom, dad and little brother and he is also playing hockey in my hometown. Beside that I have two older brothers, one of them lives in a town called Frederikshavn in Denmark, he quit hockey and are now studying. The other one lives in Toronto and plays for the Maple Leafs. So, we ARE a hockey family, aren’t we? 🙂

the ANDERSENS hockey team;         photo by: Jens Ruders

HAVE FUN ADN ENJOY THE GAME

My future plans are to finish my high school. After that I will probably stay in Sweden for playing hockey. I hope I will find a job, so that I can earn some money as well. A little later, I will probably start studying again, but I don’t exactly know what I want to study yet. I could see myself doing a lot of things so I find it difficult to decide what I want to do the rest of my life.

photo by: Kim Pinerrup

Although I am a young player, I would tell other girls to keep on working hard. You shouldn’t let anyone affect you; try to do what you love the best you can and remember, it will never be perfect. But you will have your skils developed, you will become more stronger and more successful. Believe in yourself, and, the most important, don’t forget have fun and enjoy the game.

 

Samantha Head: I’m Always Going to Miss Playing Hockey

When you meet Canadian Samantha Head, you can’t stay indifferent. First of all, I’m thinking of her courage, fighting spirit, good manners and positivity. Although she is very young, in her life there were many dramatic ups and downs. But Samantha manages to deal with all life-threatening blows, and goes on, with her eyes firmly fixed into the future, just like other hockey players. She is a person who does not cry for missed opportunities, but learns how to pull out the lesson from it. And, of course, she continues to enjoy her life, helping others to enjoy it as well.

Samantha Head

She likes being outside and doing all sorts of activities such as sports and hiking. Currently she’s doing some upgrading online, and works as a server at a restaurant. In her free time, she likes to help homeless people. And she’s just 18 years old.

i WAS ON MY FIRST TEAM BY 2 YEARS OLD

I started skating pretty early, at the age of one and a half. My family had a backyard rink every winter, so when I was able to start walking my oldest brother had put me on skates and taught me to skate. Ever since then, my family and friends would play 3 on 3 games almost every night. I was on my first team by 2 years old, playing as an underage on my brother’s initiation team.

I played boys AA rep hockey until first year bantam. Then I switched to the female rep team. We made it to provincials for the first time that year. We did not place well the first year; however we made provincials again the year after and placed fourth.

Since she was able to walk, Samantha learned to skate.

WE COMPETED IN MANY TOURNAMENTS AROUND CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES

My midget 1st year I went to a hockey academy called Pursuit of Excellence, where we were at the training facility at 6:30 A.M. every morning for training and a workout before school. After school, we were there from 6:30-5:00 every week day; we competed in many tournaments around Canada. We also traveled the United States, visiting universities and playing some of them as well. While playing hockey, I had injured my shoulder that year. I got hit from behind, and the injury was so bad, that required surgery. When it was done, I moved back home and played for the Thompson Okanagan Major Midget team, for my last two years of Midget.

Photo by: Thompson Okanagan Lakers

After midget I moved to Sherwood Park, Alberta to play for the Junior A female hockey team in the AJFHL. Unfortunately, I had my shoulder re-injured,  and now require another shoulder surgery. The second injury I got also on ice: I got cross checked, and my body went into the net while my shoulder hit the post.

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE PRINCE GEORGE NEWS

My most memorable experience was playing the Northern Capitals in game 2 of the playoffs. We were down 2-1, with 5 minutes left in the game, when I had scored the comeback goal to go into overtime. Then I scored the overtime winning goal, to force a game 3. I had an interview with the Prince George News about my game, and had scouts from many schools calling me. I felt great; I was very proud of myself and full of élan.

I’m always going to miss playing hockey

On the other side, my worst memory was finding out I was not allowed to play university hockey because of my injury, without risking never being able to play again. Of course, at first I was very upset. I’m always going to miss playing hockey, but I’ve accepted it was for the best. I just hope to stay involved with the sport somehow, because I can’t imagine my life without it.

HELPING HOMELESS IS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE

The old saying goes, when you close one door, the other one opens. Something similar happened to me: when I stopped actively playing hockey, I started with a new chapter in my life. I started helping out at the homeless shelter, back home in the summer. So, when I go home I’ll be doing that as well. Why helping homeless? I spent a few months living with my brother in Vancouver, and he always hands out food and water to the homeless on Hastings. So, it was he who gave me the idea. I hand out food and help prepare everything. My concrete job would have to be a personal trainer and sports injury specialist. I felt great doing that, so I can say that helping homeless is really an amazing experience!

Samantha Head with her coaches

I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO JOIN THE ARMY

However I’m hoping I’ll be accepted into the royal military college in Canada, in Kingston Ontario, because I want to go there before I do anything else. Honestly, I’ve always wanted to join the army since I was young. And now that I’m not playing hockey anymore I feel like it’s the right time, I love helping others and knowing I’d be doing something for my country would be an honor!

I WOULD STICK HANDLE WHILE WATCHING TV

At the close of my story, I would like to say something to the younger players: Train as much as you can! Don’t be afraid to take the extra step and practice on your off time. I never had lots of money growing up, but that never stopped me from helping myself improve, I would stick handle while watchingTV and shoot pucks as much as I could, If you work your hardest to improve and get better at the game, it opens up tons of opportunities!