Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We're Celebrities!

Today, Courtney, Jessica, and I were featured in "Kleine Zeitung," the No. 1 newspaper in Styria, Austria.  If anyone would like to help translate the article for us, feel free to comment on this blog post with the English translation.  One of the few words I know from the article is Leberknödel.  The article seemed to have put a spotlight on Courtney, Jessica, and I.  This morning, the team's manager, Margret, took us to the bank, but I stopped into the post office along the way.  At the post office, Margret introduced me to the clerk, but he nodded his head as if he already knew me.  He recognized me instantly from the photograph in the featured article in "Kleine Zeitung."  It seems as though we have been celebrities among the town already!

Christoph Heigl, a sports journalist for the "Kleine Zeitung," wrote this article.  He has asked me to write several "insider articles" for the newspaper, since I have a background in journalism.  The "insider articles" will give readers the opportunity to get an inside look on the Neuberg Highlanders women's ice hockey team, while also taking a glimpse of what it's like to be an American ice hockey player in Austria.  I plan to meet with Heigl soon to discuss our project. 


Day 5 in Austria and Day 3 of Training

Hallo!  The roommates and I went out on the town last night for the first time.  I think last night's festivities caught up to me today, as I was feeling a little less active; however, I forced myself to run this morning along the Mürz river.  I really wanted a way of transportation in Austria since we don't get our sponsor car for another week and a half.  I decided to run all the way to our manager's house, which was about 3.125 miles, so I could retrieve a bicycle.  It was a perfect morning to run.  The temperature wasn't too hot or too cold and the sun was shining.  I ran on a bike trail which is right next to our flat, but I am still unsure if people are even allowed to run on the bike trail.  No one has stopped me yet, so I suppose it's okay for now.  While on the trail, I was unable to see the houses along the main road and I wasn't sure if I had passed Margret's house or not.  I left the bike trail and continued to run on the main road, which I don't think was such a safe idea with European cars driving 100 kph (about 60-65 mph).  I just didn't want to miss Margret's house!  Luckily, I made it to Margret's house safe and sound.  As I approached the yard, an adorable little katze (cat) laying in the grass greeted me and seemed to be protecting my new way of transportation, an orange bicycle.  Margret came out of her house to give me a helmet and some matching orange sunglasses to go along with my new ride.  She sent me on my way and I was most enthused about biking home rather than running, especially after a night out on the town.  For the ride home, I decided to stay on the bike trail this time and not wander off onto the main road.

The bike helped me reach the flat in no time at all, but I decided to take another bike ride into town.  This was my first time into town by myself and in daylight.  I was nervous and scared, praying that no one would try to start a conversation with me since the German language isn't something I have mastered quite yet.  I found the town very cute.  It was filled with little shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants.  Everyone seemed really friendly as they greeted me with "Hallo!" (Hello) or "Guten Morgen!" (Good Morning).  I just tried my best to say "Hello" but with an Austrian/German accent, so I'd fit in.  After an hour or two bike riding around town, I returned home to check on the roommates, who were still asleep when I arrived home.  Keep in mind that it was around 1:45 p.m. (Central European Time), but I know they have not exactly adjusted to the time differences yet and they seem to have a difficult time falling asleep at night as well.  When it's midnight here in Austria, it's 6:00 p.m. back in America.  It's going to take them a little longer to adapt to a new sleep schedule.  I'm surprised I've adjusted so quickly.  

We had practice at 4:15 p.m. today.  It consisted of some stick-handling drills, 1-on-1 drills, and some shooting drills.  After we skated, we ran up and down the stadium stairs for about 15-20 minutes.  We did the same kind of off-ice training the day before.  My legs will most likely be sore tomorrow after running up and down stairs for two days in a row, but thankfully, we don't have training for the next two days.  Our next practice is on Friday.  I'll keep you posted!

tschüss! (Bye)



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Skating the Dream: First Day of Practice

Skating the Dream: First Day of Practice


First Day of Practice

Courtney, Jessica, and I
Today marked the first day of practice.  I would consider it more of a pre-season practice.  Not all the girls on the team were able to attend today's practice.  Some are in the United States taking some classes and others were injured.  One girl had broken her toe and another girl hurt her back before practice.  Before we got dressed for practice, we warmed up, which consisted of jogging, high-knees, lunges, etc.  Once we were dressed, we took to the ice.  We mostly did some power skating drills for the first half of practice, which worked on our edges and our skating technique.  The second half, we did some skating drills with pucks, which we were able to fire on net at the end of the drill.  The team is young but seems to be promising.  They definitely are eager to learn more and become better hockey players.  After practice, Courtney, Jessica, and I put on the Neuberg Highlanders jerseys for the first time and took head shot photos for the team's website.  After that, the team and I went for a run outside the arena as a cool-down, which I enjoyed a lot.  We have two more days left of "pre-season" training this week, tomorrow and Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to getting to know the girls on the team more and to get back into the flow on the ice.

Leberknödelsuppe und Bier
After practice, our manager, Margret, took Courtney, Jessica, and I to a restaurant next to the arena.  There, we just had to try Austrian beer again.  We also tried some Austrian dumpling soup known as Leberknödelsuppe.  We had the sweet dumpling dessert a couple days prior, but we decided to try the dumpling soup this time.  We were unsure of what we were eating at the time, but both Courtney and I enjoyed it quite well.  Jessica unfortunately didn't crave it as much as the rest of us.  Little did we know that "leber" means liver.  We were eating liver dumpling soup.  It seemed better not to know what we were eating before we ate it.  If we knew it was liver, we probably wouldn't have eaten it, let alone enjoyed it.  But we enjoyed it for the most part until we came home and looked it up on  For my meal, I tried wiener schnitzel!  It was very tasty.  I have enjoyed all my meals so far in Austria and I can't wait to try more.  That's all I have for you tonight.  I will continue to keep you posted on my stay here in Austria.  Gute Nacht! (Good Night!)




Austria, a set on Flickr.

Check out these photos I took during my first few days in Austria!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Austria Bound

After a tough time traveling, I finally made it to Austria.  My luggage of course got lost along the three-flight journey.  Hopefully, it will come to the flat tomorrow since we start training for hockey on Sunday and I kind of need that stuff called hockey equipment.  The team's manager, Margret, and the team's treasurer, Martina, picked me up from the airport today around 11 a.m. (Central European Time).  It's funny how I've been awake since about 7 a.m. Thursday morning and now I'm in Austria.  It is almost 10 p.m. here.  Sleep deprived might be an understatement in my situation.  I have not slept since Wednesday night.  I feel that if I took a nap earlier today, however, I would not be able to sleep tonight.  It may take a bit to get used to this time difference.

After Margret and Martina picked me up at the airport, we went to the office of the Austrian Ice Hockey Federation in Vienna to complete all necessary formalities.  Afterward, they wanted to take me out to lunch, but unfortunately Martina was really craving McDonald's.  McDonald's was not exactly what I had in mind for my first meal in Austria, but I settled with it.  Don't tell Coach Seeley at Quinnipiac.  Haha.  After that, we stopped to get some German ice cream cones.  Don't tell Coach about that one either!

We continued on our drive to Mürzzuschlag, which is where I'd like to call home now.  The apartment that I will be staying in for the next eight months is in Mürzzuschlag, but Europeans seem to call it a "flat" instead of an apartment.  It was a hike up some stairs to finally to get to the doorstep.  Once we arrived, I was greeted by my fellow Canadian teammates, Courtney and Jessica.  We seemed to get along just fine and seemed to have quite a few things in common, the main one being that none of us know the German language yet.  We also don't exactly know how to drive standard too well yet either.  Good thing we will not get our car for another 14 or so days.

Margret took Courtney, Jessica, and I to a local lake, which Margret called the "clubhouse."  We went for a swim and just laid in the sun.  The scenery in Austria is incredibly gorgeous.  It was a very relaxing atmosphere, especially after being on several different planes for the past 10 or so hours.  Margret took us to eat on a deck outside the clubhouse.  She helped us out with the menu since it was all in German.  We had a delicious salad with chicken, followed by a sweet Knödel for dessert.  It was all very good and we all liked the meals very much.  After the meal, Margret took us back to the flat after picking up some Austrian beers of course.

Courtney, Jessica, and I
Tomorrow, Margret plans to stop by again to drop off a few things, including our new way of transportation, bicycles.  Courtney, Jessica, and I are very excited for those since they had to resort to walking to the market earlier in the day.  I will keep everyone updated as we get settled into our new home in Austria.  


Sunday, August 21, 2011

5 days and counting...traveling tips anyone?

Today is the five-day mark.  I will be leaving my home country for the first time in my life in less than a week, or 4 days and some odd hours according to my "countdown clock."  As I've never left the country before, I am very unsure of what to pack, bring, and plan for this long journey to Austria.  I will be there for nearly four months until I return to hometown for Christmas break.  I am open to any comments or tips from anyone that has left the country, or even traveled to Europe.  I found out that the condo I will be staying in during my time in Austria is fully furnished.  A fellow Austrian teammate has told me to just bring warm clothes and my hockey gear.  If you think there are any other items I should bring, feel free to contact me.  As I said before, I have never left the country, so my ears are open to whatever you might suggest on bringing.  I have already shopped for some nice ski clothes (jacket, hat, gloves, etc.), but I hear the winters are super cold too.  Maybe I should just skip on the idea of bringing shorts and flip flops.  What do you think? 

If you have not checked out the Neuberg Highlanders website, my two fellow American teammates were announced.  Jessica Jenkins, 20, and Courtney Bradley, 19, are both from Canada.  We are expected to arrive around the same time at the airport in Vienna, Austria.  I look forward to meeting them and sharing a condo with them.  I also can't wait to meet the rest of the team and get a chance to bond with them before our first game on Sept. 16! :o)


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Neuberg Highlanders Announce 2011-12 Schedule

The Neuberg Highlanders announced the 2011-12 schedule on August 13. We open the season with a two-game series against the Turkish national team on Sept. 16 and 18.

2011-12 Schedule

Friday, Sept. 16: Neuberg Highlanders v. Team Turkey @ Kapfenberg at 8 p.m. (Central European Time)
Sunday, Sept. 18: Neuberg Highlanders v. Team Turkey @ Kapfenberg
Sunday, Sept. 25: HDK Maribor v. Neuberg Highlanders @ Marburg
Sunday, Oct. 2: DEC Dragons Klagenfurt v. Neuberg Highlanders @ Klagenfurt
Sunday, Oct. 23: HK Celeia v. Neuberg Highlanders @ Celje
Wednesday, Oct. 26: Neuberg Highlanders v. Gipsy Girls Villach @ Kapfenberg
Sunday, Nov. 6: Neuberg Highlanders v. HK Triglav Kranj @ Kapfenberg
Sunday, Nov. 20: Neuberg Highlanders v. HK Celeia @ Kapfenberg
Sunday, Nov. 26: Gipsy Girls Villach v. Neuberg Highlanders @ Villach
Sunday, Dec. 4: Neuberg Highlanders v. HDK Maribor @ Kapfenberg
Sunday, Jan. 8: Neuberg Highlanders v. EHV Sabres Vienna II @ Kapfenberg
Sunday, Jan. 29: EHV Sabres Vienna II v. Neuberg Highlanders @ Vienna
Saturday, Feb. 4: HK Triglav Kranj v. Neuberg Highlanders @ Kranj
Sunday, Feb. 19: Neuberg Highlanders v. Dragons Klagenfurt @ Kapfenberg

Playoff Schedule 

Quarterfinal Dates: Feb. 25 and 26
Semifinal Dates: March 4 and 5
Final Dates: March 11 and 12


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