Thursday, November 15, 2012

Newspaper Article in WOCHE

"Highlanders Win in Kitzbühel"

WOCHE Newspaper

1. November 2012


"The Highlanders had played three minutes in Kitzbühel until Evelyn Hochegger had a jubilant goal after a pass from Julia Willenshofer.  It went in vein, as Chelsea Illchuk presented a hammer to make it 2-0 and in the 14th minute, Jennifer Pesendorfer increased the score to 3-0.  Just before the break, the Highlanders suffered a goal.  In the final two periods, Kitzbühel capitalized from mistakes in the back line of defense and led, 4-3.  With 80 seconds left in the game, Kelley Davies could still achieve the balance to tie the game.  After a scoreless overtime period, it was again Davies, who recovered in the shootout to give the Highlanders a 5-4 away victory."

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Mauthausen Concentration Camp

On Nov. 6, my roommates and I visited Mauthausen Concentration Camp, located in Upper Austria about 20 km from Linz.  The concentration camp initially was established as a single camp in 1938, but it expanded over time into the only category III concentration camp, the classification with the most brutal detention conditions.  Mauthausen had become one of the largest labor camp complexes in German-controlled Europe with approximately 85,000 inmates in 1945 and a death toll roughly between 122,766 and 320,000.  The inmates were put to labor as they worked in the quarries and on the construction of the camp.  The camp fulfilled two functions for the SS:  "to restrain political and ideological opponents of Nazism by interning, torturing and killing them and to act as a deterrent; and also to exploit their labour to the utmost" (en.mauthausen-memorial.at).


I watched movies and read books about German-controlled concentration camps, but it was a different experience actually seeing a camp.  I walked through the camp touring the different buildings.  I observed the sleeping quarters, the kitchen and laundry facilities, but worst of all, I was able to walk through the camp prison which also had the crematory located in the basement of the building.  Suddenly, the camp came alive for me as I set my eyes on the machine used to burn inmates' bodies.  I walked through the same path where the SS tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of people.  The SS used various methods to kill its victims.  Some inmates were beaten to death, hanged, or shot while sick inmates were frozen to death, starved, or killed by lethal injection or gas.  I toured the gas chamber then walked into the room where inmates were butchered.  The SS would cut out inked markings, or tattoos, on the skin of inmates and rip out gold teeth from their mouths.  It's unbelievably how people could be so cruel to other human beings!

As I kept strolling through the camp, I noticed several plaques, photos, and letters in memory of the people who suffered during this time.  I walked slowly down the "Wailing Wall," which was like a memorial with engraved, stone plagues indicating specific names of people who died.

At the end of the tour, I walked through the final building which detailed the history of the camp and the horrifying event.  Although the history was displayed in German writing on the poster boards, I was able to understand most of the event through the photographs.  It's amazing how these photographs even survived the event, but it was definitely sad to finally see these photos after touring the camp.  There were mostly men in the photos, who were stripped down to nothing.  It almost seemed like this was part of their ill-treatment, forced to pose nude for a photograph.  The photos left me disgusted at the people who treated these men with such disrespect.  The inmates looked as skinny as a toothpick, with every bone in their body popping out of their skin.  These photographs saddened both me and my roommates.

I left the concentration camp feeling depressed, but I learned a great deal after seeing the camp in person.  Although the experience was sad, it was also eye-opening.  I developed a greater appreciation for life, and simply all the things and people I have in my life.  An experience like this really makes a person feel grateful for all and everything.


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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween and a Hockey Weekend

Photo Courtesy of Axel Riegler
On Oct. 31, my roommates and I celebrated Halloween with some of our Austrian friends.  Although no one particularly celebrates Halloween in Austria and it is not considered a popular holiday, my roommates and I still dressed up.  My roommates wore togas as my fiancé (Michi Schmieder) and I were soldiers.  We all dressed up and headed to our friend's apartment for a little Halloween party before we went out to the bar.  Axel Riegler had decorated his apartment in Halloween ornaments and accessories.  This made my roommates and I feel as if we were all back home celebrating Halloween.  There were cobwebs, spiders, and candied eyeballs scattered everywhere.  Riegler made a fruit punch that consisted of freshly-cut watermelon pieces and some Austrian liquor (which was quite strong).  Riegler placed a frozen hand, made from a rubber glove containing strawberry fruit juice, into the punch and it was time to celebrate!  We all ate a giant pretzel sandwich and drank the blood-red drink.  We definitely enjoyed our time on Halloween night!

As the weekend approached, my roommates and I decided to go to Klagenfurt to see a professional ice hockey game.  Kate Wheeler's boyfriend, Chris D'Alvise, plays for HDD TELEMACH Olimpija Ljubljana, which is in the first league, Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL).  His team was playing KAC Klagenfurt on Sunday evening.  Schmieder actually had an ice hockey game with his team (ECE Bulls Kapfenberg) in Klagenfurt on Saturday night, so my roommates and I attended that game.  After the game, we all stayed the night at Schmieder's mother's apartment in Klagenfurt for we planned on attending D'Alvise's game the next day.  


Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Illchuk
The next morning, we woke up and drove to a nearby town, Velden.  Schmieder and I wanted to show my roommates the big lake in Carinthia (or Kärnten), called the Wörthersee.  We walked around the town and enjoyed the scenery of the lake before we had to go to the eishalle for the game.  We enjoyed watching D'Alvise's game but unfortunately, his team came up short as they lost 5-2.  Because of the National Hockey League (NHL) lockout, some NHL players were playing in the game we watched.  Klagenfurt defensemen, Tyler Myers, usually plays for the Buffalo Sabres while Klagenfurt forward, Sam Gagner, plays for the Edmonton Oilers.

It was a nice weekend watching hockey, but I think my roommates would agree with me when I say we are definitely looking forward to playing some of our own hockey.  Ten days until our next match against Vienna Sabres!


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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Neuberg Highlanders Grab First Victory in Shootout

Photo Courtesy of neuberg-highlanders.at
After traveling four hours on the bus, the Neuberg Highlanders won their first regular season game, 5-4, in a shootout against EC "Die Adler" Kitzbühel on Saturday.  The Highlanders took a 3-0 lead in the first 14 minutes of the game, with goals from Evelyn Hochegger, Chelsea Illchuk, and Jennifer Pesendorfer.  Neuberg seemed sure of the victory, but Kitzbühel kept fighting back as they put a tally on the scoreboard before the end of the first period.

The Eagles remained consistent in the second period as they added yet another tally.  The Highlanders entered the third period with a 3-2 lead and knew defense was the first priority.  Unfortunately, the Eagles tied the game 3-3 and later took their first lead of the game in the 49th minute.  Under pressure to regain control of the game, the Highlanders attempted to tie the game before the sound of the buzzer.  With just over one minute remaining in the game, Anna Johann gave me the puck at the far blue line and I skated alone toward the net.  I sailed the puck right, top corner to tie the game 4-4 and found myself celebrating with my fellow teammates.  From that moment, I knew we were not going to let Kitzbühel take the victory.

The game remained tied at the end of regulation forcing both teams into sudden-death overtime.  It was four-on-four in the overtime period, which allowed a lot of skating room for both teams.  Eventually, the referee called a penalty on each team, making it three-on-three and giving even more room on the ice.  Neither team scored in overtime, thus a shootout must determine one, ultimate winner.  Each team received one point for playing in an overtime period, but the team to win the shootout will receive an additional point for the game.

The Eagles took the first shot but did not score.  The Highlanders were next and sent Pesendorfer to shoot first.  She went unsuccessful.  The Eagles sent their next shooter but Highlanders' Bianca Feeberger kept them scoreless.  I was the next shooter for the Highlanders and scored right, top corner.  Feeling relieved, I hoped that Feeberger would stop the Eagles' next shot giving us the victory...and that, she did!  The Eagles' three shooters went scoreless, while the Highlanders' one shootout goal was enough to end the game!

The Highlanders earned two points from the match while they were also awarded an additional three points on Sunday.  The Highlanders were scheduled to play DEC Dragons Klagenfurt on Oct. 20, but Klagenfurt cancelled the game due to ill players.  The game failed to be rescheduled and will not be played; however, the Highlanders were given a victory and three points.

The Highlanders have a total of five points on the season after completing three matches.  The team is currently in fifth place out of eight teams.  We have scored 13 goals total while allowing 10 goals against.  To view a full list of the Damen Eishockey Bundesliga (DEBL) standings, click here.

The Neuberg Highlanders return to action as they are scheduled to play their first home game against EHV Sabres Wien II on Nov. 18 at 4:30 p.m. at Kapfenberg Eishalle. 


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Monday, October 29, 2012

Minimundus and Burg Hochosterwitz


On Thursday, my fiancé, Michi Schmieder, and I went to visit his mother, who lives in Klagenfurt.  After we arrived at his mother's apartment, we decided to spend the evening at Minimundus (miniature world in English).  The park has approximately 150 models of famous structures, trains, and ships.  We were able to travel around the world in a single day!  We strolled around the park visiting different countries and observing many miniature structures, such as the Sydney Opera House, Eiffel Tower, and Taj Mahal.  I was even able to travel back to America as I stood in front of the Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood sign, and the White House.  Below is a full list of the monuments displayed throughout the park:



The models have been constructed with close attention to the smallest details on a scale of 1:25.  In most cases, the models have been created from their original materials, like sandstone, basalt lava, and marble.  The models were made with precision, in attempts to resemble as much of the original structures as possible.  Even the smallest details from shutters to street lamps are accurate.  


The next morning, Michi and I drove about 30 minutes from Klagenfurt to visit a castle situated on a 150-meter limestone rock near Sankt Georgen am Längsee.  Burg Hochosterwitz (Hochosterwitz Castle) is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles.   The castle was first mentioned in a 860 deed and has been possessed by the Khevenhüller family since the 15th century, according to Carinthia.at.  The castle consists of thick walls and high towers with 14 fortified gates, each equipped with different treacherous methods of protection.  Tourists can walk the 620-meter long pathway through the gates up to castle or take a lift straight up to the castle.  It was an eye-opening experience being in such an old structure and observing the architecture of that century.  On a clear day, the castle can be seen from 30 km (19 mi) away, but unfortunately, the weather did not permit this when we visited.  It was a foggy day and we could not see much, but luckily, we were able to view the entire landmark on a miniature scale at Minimundus the day before! 

Burg Hochosterwitz at Minimundus



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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Week of Games, Castles, Kegeln and Kirtags

The Neuberg Highlanders had their first match against Devils Graz on Oct. 7.  Although it was an exhibition game, we still played to an 8-1 victory, with goals from seven different Highlander players (Illchuk, Janzen, Wheeler, Davies, Hochegger, Weiss, and Schneeberger).  We tried to bring home another win on Saturday but came up unfortunate.  The Highlanders lost their first regular season game, 6-3, against HDK Maribor.  The Highlanders struck first as I put in a short-handed goal in the first period.  Maribor evened the score at the 12-minute mark, 1-1.  Kate Wheeler scored the go-ahead goal, making the score 2-1, but Maribor managed to tie the game before the period ended.  With a 2-2 tie game, Maribor scored three consecutive goals and by that time, the Highlanders lost all hope.  With frustrated minds, it was difficult for the Highlanders to bounce back.  We did not backcheck and lacked defensively allowing many odd-man rushes, which cost us our first game.  Hopefully after a hard week of training, we will be able to respond to this loss with a victory in our next regular season game.  We host our first home game against Klagenfurt on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in Kapfenberg. 

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Illchuk
In addition to our matches, my roommates and I also engaged in several activities last week.  On Monday, we hosted a "Canadian Thanksgiving" at our apartment.  We invited my fiancé, Michi Schmieder, and our team trainer, Axel Riegler.   As we drank wine, beer, and Sturm, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Austria.  Although we couldn't find a turkey in the grocery stores here, we cooked a whole chicken and a ham instead.  It turned out to be a great Thanksgiving with lots of leftovers.

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Illchuk
On Wednesday, we went to a castle in Kapfenberg, Burg OberKapfenberg, which overlooked our ice hockey rink and the rest of the town.  I have been here several times before, but it was nice to finally take two of my roommates up the mountain to see the view from the castle.  Later that night, I took my roommates Austrian bowling, or kegeln, for the first time.  The difference between Austrian bowling and American bowling is that in kegeln, you bowl with a smaller ball with two finger holes and try to knock down the nine pens, which hang from strings.  The pins sit in a diamond shape before you bowl, and if you hit the first pin at the top of the diamond, your score doubles.  My roommates found it difficult at first, but I think they got the hang of it by the end.

On Thursday, we put those dirndls back on for another beer festival.  Riegler and Schmieder also came with us to the festival; however, they were dressed in lederhosen.  The festival, called Gösser Kirtag, is a celebration in Leoben, where the Gösser brewery is located.  I attended the same festival last year with Riegler and Schmieder.  To read about my previous experience, click here.  This year, we walked the streets of Leoben while stopping at a festive tent and several bars.  We listened to Austrian music and danced the night away as we drank Gösser beer and Sturm.  After an eventful week, my roommates and I are excited to see what else Austria has in store for us. 

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Oktoberfest

My three roommates and I, along with my fiancé, went to Oktobertfest in Munich, Germany (or München in German) on Wednesday, which actually turned out to be National German Day.  We drove about four hours and arrived in a town, known as Taufkirchen, located just outside of the actual city.  We decided to park and leave our car there because there would most likely be a lot of traffic inside the city.  In addition, we could park there free-of-charge.  From Taufkirchen, we took the train (S-Bahn) to the city.  Once we arrived in the city, we took the underground subway (U-Bahn) to a stop closest to our hotel.  We checked into our hotel in the late afternoon and proceeded to get ready for Oktoberfest!

The manager of our ice hockey team gave my roommates dirndls, which is the traditional dress worn in Germany and Austria, while I still had my dirndl from last year.  We put on our dirndls and we were finally ready to go to Oktoberfest...of course, after we consumed some bottled beverages to avoid the cost of beer at the festival.  We took the underground from our hotel to Oktoberfest.  From the underground, we didn't know which direction to go so we followed all the people dressed in dirndls and lederhosen (leather breeches) because we figured they were going to the same place we were...Oktoberfest!

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Illchuk
Photo Courtesy of Dayna Janzen
The smell of beer and freshly-roasted nuts lingered in the air as we approached the entrance of Oktoberfest.  Hundreds of thousands of people dressed in dirndls and lederhosen filled the area.  Oktoberfest almost seemed like a giant amusement park where people could wear German costumes and consume as much beer as they wanted in a leisurely manner.  None of us have ever attended Oktoberfest or any event that could compare to it.  We were more than excited to start the festivities!  We made our way to the tents.  The tents weren't actually covered with a tapestry like we expected a tent to look, but they were actual buildings.  The music from German bands exploded in our ears as we walked into the first tent, or festhaus in German.  It was like a huge party as people ate German delicacies, drank liters of beer, and danced on nearly every hard surface of the tent.  After observing the first tent, we made our way to a second tent, where nearly every person danced on the benches of tables.  We were able to find a seat at a table with some nice people from Brazil.  We bought our first mugs of beer once we sat at the table while also consuming two, enormous pretzels (or Brezeln in German).  One beer mug could probably hold four cans of American beer.  It definitely took a while to drink.

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Illchuk
After we left the beer tent, we walked around the festival and tried some more German food, such as wursts (sausages), corn-on-a-stick, and crêpes with Nutella and banana.  We also decided to try some of the rides in the park.  We went on the bumper cars and rode another ride that spun you around in a circle, which I'm very surprised I did not get sick!  My fiancé and I went into a tent that was almost like a stadium, with people gathered around a gigantic turntable.  As we walked in, there were a bunch of girls gathered in the center of the turntable trying to hold themselves from spinning off as the table moved clockwise, faster and faster.  Men in lederhosen were the next group to try and hold on for dear life.  It definitely looked fun and I finally got my turn.  The announcer asked that all couples come to the center of the turntable and try to keep themselves on, so my fiancé and I stepped into the ring.  We sat down and the turntable took off spinning in a circle.  It gradually got faster and faster.  We eventually couldn't hold on much longer and fell off to the sidelines.  Next, the announcer asked for two men to participate in a boxing match on the turntable.  As an ice hockey player, my fiancé of course wanted to take a chance at this opportunity.  He and his opponent put boxing gloves on, as they made their way to the center of the turntable.  The referee blew the whistle, the turntable started moving, and both men started to fight.  This definitely seemed dangerous from the sidelines, but I am relieved that neither person got seriously injured!
After spending several hours drinking some mugs of beer and eating lots of German food, we all were finally exhausted from Oktoberfest and proceeded to the hotel at the end of the night.  It was an eventful day and I'm glad to say I finally made it to the world-renowned Oktoberfest!


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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First Road Trip: Slovenia and Croatia

My roommates and I took our first European road trip together on Sunday, Sept. 9.  We drove in the evening to our first stop, Ljubljana, Slovenia.  One of my roommates, Kate Wheeler, has a friend in Ljubljana so we were fortunate enough to stay at his apartment for two nights.  Once we arrived at the apartment, we casually tasted some Slovenian wine while we waited for Wheeler's friend to get home from his ice hockey game.  After the first taste of Slovenian wine, my roommates and I realized that Austrian wine is far better.  Despite the wine, Slovenia seemed like a beautiful place to travel to.


The following afternoon, we drove to Portorož just for the day.  With its beautiful mountains and sandy beaches, I can see why Portorož (literally "Port of Roses") is considered one of the country's largest tourist areas.  We walked around the town enjoying the warm atmosphere before stopping for a late lunch at a local bar and restaurant, Alaya.  The cocktail bar, located right on the edge of the beach, seemed as if it belonged in the Caribbean or Hawaii with its straw-like huts and palm trees.  After a few drinks and a light lunch, we made our way back to Ljubljana, which was only about an hour drive.  

With only one night left in Ljubljana, my roommates and I decided to try a sushi restaurant for our last meal.  Sushi is not considered a popular delicacy in Europe, so once we heard that there was a sushi place in Ljubljana, we just had to try it.  We drove two minutes to downtown Ljubljana and arrived at our destination, MoySushi, located in the heart of old town.  The Sushi restaurant did not feel like the Japanese restaurants we were used to for its interior design had a modern twist to the traditional Japanese culture.  The restaurant was almost like a tapas bar since you could only two pieces of sushi each time.  In addition to sushi, the menu also featured other items, such as sashimi, miso soup, and tempura, which reminded us of our hometown sushi restaurants. 

After dinner, we walked around downtown observing the beautiful sites.  In addition, some of my roommates had their first taste of gelato which they enjoyed in a mere five minutes.  After an eventful day, we headed back to the apartment for a good night's sleep for we were traveling to Croatia the next morning.

We arrived in Pula the following afternoon and checked into the hostel, Riva Hostel, where we made reservations.  Pula is situated at the southern tip of the Istrian peninsula and is the area's largest city, according to tripadvisor.com.  After checking in, we quickly took the bus to the closest beach, located on the Verudela Peninsula.  The beach was nothing like my beach at home, Virginia Beach.  Instead of sand, rocks covered the shore, which initially became difficult to walk on.  My flip flops finally came in handy!  Despite the rocks, my roommates and I enjoyed the warm, sunny weather and the clear blue water of the Adriatic coast.  This was our definition of a vacation!  We sipped on some wine and vodka as we relaxed in the gorgeous, beach environment.  Once the sun began to set, we made our way to a pizza restaurant, Pizzeria Jupiter, which was walking distance from our hostel.  My roommates and I shared three small pizzas, which were delicious!  In addition, the restaurant owner was kind enough to buy us several pitchers of white wine, which we appreciated deeply.  It seemed like a great way to end our first night in Pula.

We had reserved a room in the hostel until Friday, so we spent the rest of our days in Pula either at the beach, if weather permitted, or walking around the town center.  We observed some historical sites, including the Arena in Pula, the Temple of Augustus, the Triumphal Arch of Sergius, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, and the Kastel.

Arena in Pula
Temple of Augustus
Triumphal Arch of Sergius
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin
Kastel
For celebrate our last night in Pula, two of my roommates (Chelsea Illchuk and Kate Wheeler) and I went out to a club.  People filled the dance floor of the club as my roommates and I also joined.  We all definitely had a great time at our first club overseas.  On Friday, my roommate, Dayna Janzen, and I drove five hours back to Austria while my other two roommates stayed in Pula to attend an outdoor ice hockey game at the Arena.  Overall, it was a great first road trip and I'm excited to see what adventures we plan next! 


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Saturday, September 8, 2012

"Live the Dream! - Women's Hockey Life"

I had my first article published on the official website of WomensHockeyLife on Sept. 7.  The article serves as an introduction of my experience in playing professional (post university) women's ice hockey overseas.  It also details the start of my second season (2012-13) with Austria's Neuberg Highlanders.

My blog on WomensHockeyLife will cross-reference with my current blog, SkatingTheDream.  Some articles on WomensHockeyLife will coincide with my posts on SkatingTheDream, while other articles may differ from the ones I publish on this blog.  Please take a look at my introductory article on WomensHockeyLife for it describes some experiences that have not been posted on this blog (click here to view article).  I will keep you updated of any newly published articles on WomensHockeyLife's website, so keep checking back!


WomensHockeyLife is a website that provides information regarding women's hockey at the recreational, university, and professional levels.  It serves as a resource of first-hand knowledge, information, and experiences pertaining to women's hockey all over the world, such as North America and Europe.  One can read about success stories or learn about opportunities available in North America or overseas.  The website contains blogs, written by players who are "living their dream" in playing women's hockey at recreational, university, or professional levels.  Readers can follow the lives of these players as they share their experiences on WomensHockeyLife.

Link to WomensHockeyLife: www.womenshockeylife.com/

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Video of First Day of Practice

Below is a video of my first day of practice with the new international teammates (Chelsea Illchuk, Kate Wheeler, and Dayna Janzen) and fellow Neuberg Highlanders teammates.


(Illchuk: grey jersey, Wheeler: white jersey, Janzen: grey jersey, Davies: red jersey)

Video Courtesy of Hartmut Marchl

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Days of Training

Photo Courtesy of neuberg-highlanders.at
The Neuberg Highlanders hosted their first official practices this past weekend.  Once I stepped on the ice for the first practice on Saturday, I felt as if I hadn't even left!  It was extremely odd seeing former collegiate teammates Chelsea Illchuk and Kate Wheeler on the Austrian ice for I've only skated with them when we were on the same team at Quinnipiac University.  It may take me some time to get accustomed to seeing them in the royal blue and bright yellow Highlanders jerseys.  From Bobcats to Highlanders, all three of us seem ready to take on this new adventure together, joined by a fourth international player, Dayna Janzen.


Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Illchuk
Janzen, Illchuk, and Wheeler seemed excited to meet their new teammates for the first time at the eishalle (or ice rink), while I was elated to reunite with my Highlanders teammates.  Although most of the mädels (or "girls" in English) barely know the English language, the idea of having them admire us seemed comforting enough.  Since girls ice hockey isn't considered a popular sport in Austria, the few Austrian girls ice hockey teams import players from Canada and the United States to help develop the sport in the country.  As the young Highlanders skated in awe, Janzen, Illchuk, Wheeler, and I tried our best to show our talent and skills during the first days of training; however, we felt we didn't deserve their veneration because we did not perform our best for we haven't participated in a "real" practice in such a long time.  Once we get back into gear, we will feel more confident and earn the admiration from the younger girls.

Photo Courtesy of Harmut Marchl

Our first game is next Sunday, Sept. 16.  It is an exhibition game against a Hungary team, who plays in the European league (EWHL).  The Elite Women's Hockey League is considered the highest league in Austria.  Because Hungary is not part of our league, the Damen Eishockey Bundesliga (DEBL), all four of the international players will be allowed to participate in the match.  For regular season games within the DEBL, only three of the international players will be allowed to play.  It seems as if the three chosen players will be selected upon their performance on and off the ice, but this selection process has not been set in stone and is still to be defined.

All four of us seem thrilled to play in our first game as Neuberg Highlanders and we look forward to spending the year together in Austria!

For the English translation of the article featured on the Neuberg Highlanders website, click here.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Back in Austria...Finally!

After one of the most enduring traveling experiences of my life, I am finally in Austria.  I left Norfolk, Va. on Monday, August 27 after my plane was delayed more than three hours.  I was traveling on American Airlines, which allows only one free checked bag on international flights.  Therefore, I was allowed to check my first suitcase, which consisted of mostly clothing items, at no charge.  I had to pay $60 for my second bag, which was my hockey bag.  I was hoping my hockey sticks would be included with my hockey bag, but unfortunately I had to pay an extra $150 to check them as a third bag.  After spending a total of $210 for my hockey items, I could finally start my journey.

After my first delayed flight, I arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport around 7:00 p.m. on August 27 only to discover I missed my next flight to Zurich, Switzerland.  Unfortunately, there weren't any more flights to Zurich that night so I was forced to stay the night in New York.  Since the airline (American Airlines) did not provide a hotel for any person who had missed their connecting flight, many people had to pay for a hotel room for that night.  After another $212 came out of my pocket for the hotel room, I arrived back at JFK the next day to continue my trip to Austria.

My luck did not get any better as I found out my flight from New York to Zurich was delayed 45 minutes.  This delay would cause me to miss my next flight from Zurich to Vienna, which was at 9:00 a.m.  I eventually departed New York around 7 p.m. and arrived in Zurich about eight hours later, around 9 a.m. (Central European Time), or 3 a.m. (North American Eastern Time).  Since I missed my connecting flight, which was at 9:00 a.m. to Vienna, I had to change to a different airline and catch a flight at 10:25 a.m.  After my long journey, I finally arrived in Vienna at 11:50 a.m. on August 29.  My bad luck still lingered as everything but my hockey sticks arrived at baggage claim.  My sticks were still in New York!  My sticks will get delivered to my apartment in Austria as soon as they arrive at the airport in Vienna.  The attendant at baggage services said they will arrive in three to five days hopefully.  In the meantime, one of my roommates, Chelsea Illchuk, has been so kind to let me use one of her sticks for practice.

We will have our first team practice tomorrow at 4:15 p.m. in Kapfenberg, Austria.  I am excited to get back on the ice with the Neuberg Highlanders for a second consecutive season, and I'm looking forward to playing with my new international teammates!

During my first two days in Austria, I spent most of my time with my boyfriend, Michi Schmieder, since I had not seen him for six weeks.  We went to a lake, Freizeitsee St. Lorenzen, during my first and second days in Austria.  It was a nice relaxing way to enjoy the beautiful scenery Austria has to offer, especially after traveling for three days straight.  With the sun reflecting off the water, I gazed at the tall, green mountains and enjoyed my first cup of Austrian beer.  As I took a sip of my cold beer, I felt so glad to finally be back in Austria.

My roommates arrived in Austria last night.  It definitely feels good to have other people in my apartment, since I lived in the apartment alone during the second half of the season last year.  I am excited to share my new experiences with my roommates, Chelsea Illchuk, Kate Wheeler, and Dayna Janzen.  We are embarking on our first experience tonight as we are attending Leob'ner Weinfest, a wine festival in the town of Leoben.  For the English detailed description of the event, click here.  The event gathers 25 Styrian winemakers who will promote their specialty wines for tasting and sale.  The wine festival will also feature forms of entertainment, such as music, and Austrian snacks, such as freshly-made donuts.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Neuberg Highlanders Announce 2012-13 Schedule

The Neuberg Highlanders announced the 2012-13 game schedule for the Damen Eishockey Bundesliga (DEBL) on August 22.  We open the season with an away game against Slovenia's HK Triglav Kranj on Sept. 30 at Eishalle Triglav.  The expected start of the match is yet to be determined.

The Bundesliga consists of eight teams for the 2012-13 season, with the addition of two teams (EC "Die Adler" Kitzbühel and KHL Gric Zagreb) which were not members of the league last year.

Damen Eishockey Bundesliga (DEBL) Teams

  1. Neuberg Highlanders
  2. EHV Sabres Wien
  3. HK Triglav Kranj
  4. HDK Maribor
  5. Gipsy Girls Villach
  6. DEC Dragens Klagenfurt
  7. EC "Die Adler" Kitzbühel
  8. KHL Gric Zagreb

Every team in the league will play each team twice, one game at home and one game away.  As there are no playoffs for the league, the Bundesliga champion will be decided based on the amount of points each team earns throughout the season.  For each match, the winning team will receive three points while the losing team receives zero.  Similar to the National Hockey League (NHL), there also must be a winner for each game in the Bundesliga.  If a game is tied at the end of regulation time (three 20-minute periods), both teams will receive one point each and will play in a sudden-death overtime period.  If the score remains even, the game will continue and end in a shootout to determine an ultimate winner, who will then receive an additional point.  The team with the most points at the end of the season will be declared the Bundesligameister, or Bundesliga champion.  As the reigning Bundesliga champions, the Neuberg Highlanders look to reclaim the throne for a second consecutive year, as we finished with 31 points and an overall 10-2 record for the 2011-12 season.

2012-13 Game Schedule

 

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Round 2: Back to Austria

I will be returning to Austria for a second consecutive season with the Neuberg Highlanders.  I plan on leaving from Norfolk International Airport in Norfolk, Va. at 2:30 pm on August 27.  I arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport at 3:55 pm.  I leave JFK at 6:10 pm for my longest flight (7 hrs. 45 min.) of my trip, crossing over the Atlantic Ocean.  I arrive in Zurich, Switzerland at 7:55 am (Central European Time) on August 28.  I depart from Zurich International Airport for the last flight of my trip at 9:00 am, arriving at my final destination, Vienna, Austria, at 10:15 am.


View Flight to Austria in a larger map
I am looking forward to spending a second year in Austria, joined by former collegiate teammates, Kaitlyn Wheeler and Chelsea Illchuk.

Wheeler (third from bottom left), Davies (fourth from bottom right), Illchuck (third from bottom right)

Wheeler and Illchuck played on the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team with me for three consecutive seasons.  The two forwards graduated Quinnipiac University in May 2012.  Also joining us is defenseman Dayna Janzen, a native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Last Kleine Zeitung Article


Next Year Neuberg Has Three "Grandmas"

16. März 2012


"My parents came to visit me for the past three weeks.  I think they really enjoyed their time here in Austria, although it did not snow once while they were here.  It was probably the warmest winter weather this year and their hopes of seeing snow fall were shattered.  Despite the lack of snow, I still took my parents on a joyous ride down the mountain at Semmering.  My brother warned them of his previous, dangerous ride of sledding, but they attempted to sled regardless.  As my parents and I went down the mountain on sleds, I looked behind me and realized there was no way they could get hurt.  They were going so slow that they were almost going backwards!

In addition to sledding, I also took them Austrian bowling, or kegeln.  They enjoyed that a lot, especially after drinking some Austrian beer.  As well as drinking Austrian beer, my parents tried several other Austrian delicacies, such as Glühwein, pretzels, schnitzel, and my mother’s new favorite dish, kaspressknödelsuppe.  While my parents were here, we traveled to Vienna for sightseeing, Salzburg to see Mozart’s home, and Burgenland for wine tasting.  After spending some time in Austria, my parents and I traveled to Paris.  We spent five days in Paris and it definitely was one of my best adventures in Europe this year.  Once we returned to Austria, my parents were able to see two more games before they left for America.  We played a Canadian collegiate team last Monday and Tuesday.  My parents were able to see an exciting shoot-out to decide the winner of Tuesday’s game.  They saw four games while they were here, but unfortunately they left last Thursday so they could not see my final game of the year.

The season came to a closure on Saturday, as we lost to Salzburg 2-0.  Although we didn’t win the bronze medal for the Austrian tournament, we were awarded our gold medals for the Bundesliga after the game.  This marked the final time I would be on the ice this season, but it would not be the last time I stepped foot on Austrian ice.

I hope to return to the Neuberg Highlanders next season with two of my former teammates from Quinnipiac University, Kate Wheeler and Chelsea Illchuk.  All three of us played together for three years in college, so we plan to bring our chemistry to the Highlanders next year.  I look forward to sharing my experiences with Kate and Chelsea next year.  They are nearly as old as me, so maybe next year we will have three grandmas on the team rather than one!  Bis zum nächsten Jahr!"

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Family Fun

My family came to visit me in Austria for the second half of the year.  My brother visited in January for two weeks while my mother and father came in February for three weeks.

While my brother was here, I took him to several of my boyfriend's ice hockey games.  My brother brought his hockey equipment from America, so he practiced with my boyfriend's team as well.  Unfortunately, I did not have my car so we were unable to do many things that we had planned.  However, I think he enjoyed drinking a lot of Austrian beer and going sledding with my friends.  Since we had no car, we spent a lot of our time walking around my town of Mürzzuschlag and going down the trails behind my apartment.

Before he left to go back home to America, I was able to borrow my boyfriend's car and take my brother to see Vienna.  In Vienna, we just toured Stephansplatz (Stephen's place), where Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) is located.  It's a main avenue with a lot of shops.  He loved Vienna so much that he wanted to go back the next day, but I didn't feel up to making the trip two days in a row since it was a one-hour drive there and back.

One or two weeks after my brother left for America, my parents came to visit.  During the first week, I took my parents sledding in Semmering, which is located about 10 or 15 minutes from my town.  I also introduced them to Austrian bowling, or Kegeln, which they loved!  I was fortunate enough to have my car back for my parents visit, so I took them to Burgenland for some wine tasting at Weingut Juliana Wieder.  The winery offered mostly red wine, so my dad enjoyed it a lot!  We took a tour of the small winery after we tasted about 10 different bottles of wine.




After spending some time in Austria, my parents and I flew to Paris for five days.  I think we all fell in love with Paris after our vacation.  My mom bought us tickets for a double-decker tour bus for two consecutive days.  It seemed well-worth the money to purchase these tickets since the bus took you to the nine most popular tourist sites in Paris while also informing you along the way about each site.  We visited the Arc de Triomphe almost every day because our hotel was located about a block from the Arc.  We walked down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées since it was right near the Arc.  We also saw Cathédrale Notre-Dame, and actually climbed to the top of the tower to see all of Paris.  My mom felt sick after walking up the spiral staircase so she went down as soon as she could.  However, my dad and I continued to climb to the rooftop of the tower and overlooked the city.  We visited two museums while we were in Paris as well, Musée du Louvre and Musée d'Orsay.  We were able to see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, but I enjoyed the Orsay Museum much better for it had many paintings from several artists I studied in school, such as Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Vincent van Gogh.  We also traveled to Moulin Rouge and Montmartre where Basilique du Sacré-Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica) is located.  Of course, we saw the Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) several times during the day and at night to see the lights flicker on the tower.



After a wonderful family vacation in Paris, my parents and I returned to Austria.  I had a game in Salzburg so my boyfriend drove my parents and me to tour the city before my game.  We saw Mozart's house and walked around the town.  Unfortunately, I lost my game, 2-1, but I enjoyed having my parents watch me play.  After the game, we drove to Klagenfurt to visit my boyfriend's parents.  Although his parents cannot speak English as well as him, my parents were able to have some conversations with them as my dad attempted to speak German but failed for the most part.  It seemed as if the entire room filled with laughter when my dad tried to say something in German.

We returned home to Mürzzuschlag the next day.  Driving to Vienna International Airport would have been the final journey for my parents, but I took them to Vienna one day prior to their departure so they could see the city.  We visited Schloss Schönbrunn and the nearby zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn.  The Schönbrunn Zoo is the world's oldest zoo and certainly considered one of the most modern zoos because it serves more as an educational center rather than an entertainment park.  Since it was cold outside, some of the animals were not as active as we would have hoped.  Most of the animals just stayed in their pins and did not come out to greet people outside.  After the zoo, I took my parents to their last sightseeing attraction, Stephensdom.  We stayed in a hotel in Vienna for the night as my parents flew back to America the next morning.

I definitely enjoyed having my parents and brother come visit me in Austria, and I can't wait for them to visit me next year as I plan on returning to the Neuberg Highlanders for one more season.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Vote for your favorite Austrian hockey team!

Hockey-News.info asked its audience to vote for their favorite Austrian hockey team about a week ago.  Please help the Neuberg Highlanders take the top seed in the standings.  You can vote on Facebook, via this link: http://www.facebook.com/questions/10150623286908621/.

As of right now, the Highlanders are in second place with 572 votes while EC KAC is in first place with 846 votes.  Help my team and place your vote for EHV Neuberg Highlanders today!  Thank you!

Photo Courtesy of neuberg-highlanders.at

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bundesligameister (Bundesliga Champions)

With a record of 10-1 in the Damen Eishockey Bundesliga, the Neuberg Highlanders remain the defending champions of the league.  Since there are no playoffs in the league, the champion is decided by the number of points each team has.  With one game remaining in league play, the Highlanders have already been declared champions as we have 31 points for the season.  EHV Sabres Wien II are in second place with 23 points and are unable to catch the Highlanders in the standings. 

The Highlanders play the Sabres on Saturday in their final game of league play.  The Highlanders have been indomitable in the month of February as we beat HK Triglav Kranj, 4-1, on Feb. 4, and we recently defeated DEC Dragons Klagenfurt on Feb. 19, 9-2.

We traveled to Slovenia on Feb. 4 for a league battle against Triglav.  Both teams remained scoreless after the first period.  In the second period, Jennifer Pesendorfer scored the first goal for the Highlanders, but Triglav managed to score, tying the game 1-1 after the second period.  In the third period, the Highlanders scored three consecutive goals.  Pesendorfer contributed one goal, as I contributed the other two goals.  The oldest player (me - 23 years old) and the youngest player (Pesendorfer - 13 years old) scored two goals each in the match.

Photo Courtesy of neuberg-highlanders.at
On Sunday, the Highlanders proved to be the defending champions as we beat Klagenfurt on our home ice in Kapfenburg.  After the first period, the Highlanders finished with a 2-1 lead.  In the 13th minute, Klagenfurt scored to take a 1-0 lead, but the Highlanders responded scoring two straight goals before the end of the period.  Evelyn Hochegger and Sabrina Schlauer were credited with the goals.  In the second period, the Highlanders advanced their lead by three as Hochegger scored her second goal of the game, I scored the next goal, and Clara Willenshofer scored her first goal of the season to end the period.  With a 5-1 lead, the Highlanders continued to score four more goals in the third period and allowed only one goal for Klagenfurt.  Anna Johann, Jennifer Pesendorfer, and Julia Willenshofer each scored one goal in the third period, while I added my second goal of the game.

The Highlanders play in final match of the Bundesliga on Saturday against the Sabres in Kapfenburg at 4:15 p.m.

DEBL_Statistikinformation_20_19_02_2012

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