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.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP