Weeks, days, hours and minutes go by and we narrow our focus as we approach the IIHF Women's World Championship and aim to win a gold medal. From the moment we stepped off the plane at JFK airport in New York City, our focus has been winning a gold medal. For some players, that plane ride was over two weeks ago, while others, the college players competing in the Frozen Four, progressively arrived in New York City transitioning their focus from a National Championship to a World Championship. As each player arrived there was a sense of fulfillment that the squad was coming together.
When we were training in Long Island, we skated twice a day for an hour and fifteen minutes each. We completed a series of testing requirements in a very nice and clean weight room. During our practices, boys from local teams came out and joined us. Let me tell you, by the end of the week, I don’t think they were very happy with us because we treated them like they were on the team and there was no mercy even if there was no ponytail.
Finally the week of training camp came to an end and we were off to another city and another airport, this time Newark, New Jersey. During our bus ride to the airport, the tour guide for the back of the bus, Molly Schaus, was busy responding to, “Schausy, what is that one, and this one?” “Are we in New Jersey, yet?” “Did you know, 432 Park Ave will be the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere once the construction is completed and to live on the 94th floor it would only cost $82,500,000!!!”
As we approached the airport, everyone was anxious to see if they were in the window, aisle, or the worst, the middle seat for the flight. They always say you can’t win ‘em all! But, this time we did. We were upgraded to business class. For someone like me who is 5’2, a business class seat is pretty much a bed.
Upon our arrival to Copenhagen, the eyelids were super glued open and we were off to Malmo. One of the nicest parts about the bus ride was the casual wave at the boarder control officers when going into to Sweden from Denmark. No need to stop and show your passport going from country to country. Nice!
We got to Sweden and were welcomed with open arms and a hydration test. (Kacey Bellamy has the record for most hydration wins).
After a few days of practices, it did not take long to realize everyone in Malmo is willing to help, they all speak English, and crazy enough there is this bike called edacity where you can take a bike and leave a bike as needed. Overall, everyone adapted well to the time zone change. After feeling good and being adapted to the six-hour time zone change from training camp, we were thrown a challenge. Day light savings here in Sweden occurred in the middle of the tournament. We lost another hour, but gained our second win to Finland. After back-to-back games, we had a practice day where we were able to relax before taking on the Russians. After a 9-2 victory to Russia, we earned a bye through the quarters, which resulted in a day off and a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark.
Taking the train to Denmark was a neat experience. I sat next to a lady that was heading to the airport for, ‘a quick trip to Barcelona to drink wine’. For us Midwesterners, a quick trip would be to another state. As for our time in Denmark, there were a lot of laughs, shopping, good food, erratic weather, and a birthday (Anne Schleper’s Mom).
Today was another practice day and most importantly a day to refocus on our initial goal. When this journey began over two weeks ago in our country, we aimed for winning a gold medal, and that's exactly what we hope to do.
Stay tuned and wish us luck in the semifinal game and the rest of the way!
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