The Mountain Cup. Looking for Revenge.

Submitted by GuestBlog on Wed, 12/23/2009 - 18:45 in Events

December 18- 20, 2009, we face our biggest tournament in Switzerland. It’s called the “Mountain Cup”. Three years ago we launched this Cup. It was a big goal for us to host a tournament to make “Swiss Womens hockey” more popular.

Building a Hockey "Team."

Submitted by Elizabeth Etue on Mon, 12/14/2009 - 20:52 in News

Elizabeth Etue,  Editor

I know this is not your normal blog. But needs some “players.” We are building an international team which is the first stage in our goal to create an online “arena” for in depth information for everyone involved in international women’s hockey. That team will help build player stories, photos and facts so a whole range of hockey wonks can stay in touch with news happening all over the world.  The second priority is to establish new ways to connect with the international hockey community. How Winih does that will be influenced greatly by feedback we receive from visitors to the site.
It will take a year or two to create.  Ideally our “team” would be contributors from many countries. We have started with the top 8 countries who qualified for the 2010 Olympics. But we want to hear from a whole range of writers/bloggers/players; everyone who is passionate and articulate about the game. Send us your news and story ideas. We would love to have photos from events like the recent European Cup whose second round just finished in early December. Since I can’t travel to all these places I want to take me there with stories/videos and pictures.
There will be gaps in the first year but rest assured we will work diligently to fill them. It takes time to build a dynamic team. We definitely cannot do it alone. We hope to hear from you, in fact we are counting on it.

On the Road with the Swiss Team

Submitted by GuestBlog on Fri, 12/11/2009 - 13:06 in Players and coaches
Kathrin Lehmann, Captain of Team Switzerland.
Home after competing in the Halloween-Cup Nov 12-14, 2009 in Prievidza (SVK). Beside the Czechs we faced our “eternal rival” Germany and our 2010 Olympic-opponent Slovakia.
We drove by bus from Zurich to Prievidza.

Who Knew? The Russian Wms Pro League.

Submitted by Elizabeth Etue on Mon, 11/23/2009 - 17:26 in Ideas and issues

Kathrin Lehmann, Swiss Captain : The Puzzle

Submitted by GuestBlog on Wed, 11/18/2009 - 12:46 in Players and coaches
The Swiss team is a puzzle.
It is a special season: Vancouver is waiting. In less than three months the games are on. Switzerland is in a tough group with the gold favourite Canada along with the ones that also dream of gold Sweden and the newcomer Slovakia.
For a little country like us – we only have about 1000 female hockey players - this is a huge challenge. – but we will face this fight with all our pride.
We are all non-professionals (we work full time)  and have not had much time to prepare for the  Olympics especially when you compare the practice and competition time of countries like Canada or Sweden. That’s why it is even more important to use what little time we have.
We all need to have huge discipline to prepare individually at home. Our coach can then  work on raising our game to the next level during our practices. Our couches give us advice, ideas and tasks. Sometimes the coaches don’t tell everybody the same information. So each player, especially within a line, has the responsibility to share her knowledge or her new advice with her line mates. So it happens that five different issues are brought together and we have to interpret and transfer for our linemates.
 Our coach wants us to think and find answers to questions which might occur during a game. But since we don’t have that much on-ice practice and games like other nations we never have the chance to experience special learning moments on the ice which would be very helpful. So we have to be mentally prepared that we can solve a tricky situation as a team, as a line the moment the situation appears. I can’t tell the “serious” situations since we don’t want to show any weakness.  
We have a creative spirit in our team, but there is also nervousness. We all know we don’t have the right circumstances to play together more than three days a month. So we have to work almost perfectly as a team and be very creative to use every minute the best way. But on the other side everybody wants to be on this team. It is hard for a young team like us to find this tiny difficult balance between being a great team and still everybody is fighting for a spot in the team.
We played so far only six games. We played against Germany, France and the Czechs. All of them are nations which are based on the world ranking behind us – so we should win. We didn’t play that well. We lost three games and won three. Well, at least an even statistic so far but nothing to be proud of.
We play with many young players because our college players in the States and Canada are busy. Right now we have 8 players who play in a college and two who are playing outside Switzerland. This is the chance for the young players to grow and fight for the spot. On our entry long list which lists 35 players we have 18 players who are under 20 years old.
The college players get a great education and have the possibility to develop as hockey players abroad. The college players have the chance to be on the ice every day. To train and compete with great athletes of other countries which lifts them to another level - especially physically. They learn to play tougher and quicker – all what it needs to perform well on the international level. And when they play the next time for the national team they have to show that they really learned something and can deal the pressure to be on the spot. When you play abroad – you don’t have that many chances to fight for a spot in our team because we don’t have the money to fly the college players in. College players learn to deal with pressure – and know that sometimes you just have one chance, one game to fight for a spot. That’s a good mental exercise, too. They need to show that they are able to transfer their skills they learned at the college also into the national team – and lift up the level of the whole team.
It is not ideal that every player plays and develops somewhere else. We are kind of a “puzzle team” but we still have had great progress  because we make the best of our situation. We  climbed up the world ranking from number 8 to number five in the last three years.
If we can put together our “team puzzle” against all the big nations, that will be a good start. We will see how it turns out. I am happy to tell you about how the lives in our puzzle work as we countdown to the Vancouver Olympics…