Interview with Jana Fialova, Czech U18 Team captain in Jan. 2011by Marie Markova, publisher of the Czech Women's Hockey web site: http://www.zenskyhokej.cz
The Under 18 World Championships ended on Jan. 8th 2011 and the Czech team came 4th. For the first time, the team captain was Jana Fialova, (born 1993; defence) who plays for the Banff Hockey Academy in Western Canada this season. She has been playing hockey since she was 4 years old. How does Jana feel about the hampionship? Read on..
Marie Markova (Hereinafter MM): Please start by telling us something about yourself. You play in Canada in 2010/11, last season you played in the USA. Why did you decide to play in Canada?
Jana Fialova (hereinafter JF): Well, I had already decided to return to Vermont. But, at the last moment, I got this offer from Canada where there is more trainings and more games.Overall the program looked better and I wanted to try something new. I think I did not make a mistake.
MM: Did you prepare for the U-18 championship in any special way?
JF: Not exactly, I train for two hours and a half every day, so I was not that worried. I just trained twice more with boys.
MM: How does it feel to be at the championship as a captain?
JF: Of course, it is different than to be there as just a player. You feel higher resposibility for the team. I was quite nervous, but the girls were great. So I did not have so much more work. I think it was good experience.
MM: This was not your first U18 Championships, although it was the first time in Sweden. What surprised you most?
JF: The fact that every group played somewhere else. In fact, we never saw other teams play. This was different but other than that it was allt quite normal and was great.
MM: Please tell us your view of the championship.
JF: The day we woke up knowing we are about to play against the US team, we thought , today, has it already begun, and that was strange. But for the Swedish game, we were already focused. But "unfortunately" we did not succeed. After that match I was pretty upset because we all tried really hard but we lost by one silly goal. But then I relaxed and I thought: let's not get down again and we beat the Japan... as for the Germany, I believed we might beat them, although I knew that in the group, they were only beaten once by Canada. I knew we might beat them and we did. The match for bronze medal is hard to comment on as I knew that this was a big chance, being third team in the world does not happen often and probably there will not be another chance. The first part we played badly, really awfully. I do not know if we were scared or what. The second period was better but not by much. I was glad that we did not give up and we went for it. At least the third period was played well, however without any goal...
MM: What three things - events were you impressed most by at the championship?
JF: I was very impressed that both teams which were lower than third place, went to play for the third place of the overall standing so it was quite interesting.
Also, I liked all the people there. They were really friendly. As well as other teams. We did not get along with Finnish girls only. But other than that all the people there behaved really nice and took really good care of us.
Though what impressed me most of all, was our Czech team. This was a great, a really great team. I am happy I spent the week with them and it was tremendous even though we did not get the bronze medal after all. Still, we supported each other, had the same goal on our minds from the start till the end.
MM: What would be your advice for players wishing to be part of the U18 team?
JF: Well, let them work really hard and never give up because it is really worth it being part of this team...
MM: What teams did you play with
JF: Orlová (boys), Bohumín (boys), Karviná (girls), HC Kladno (boys), PZ Kladno(boys), HC 2001 Kladno(girls), Rice Knights (Vermont stars) and now I am in the Banff Hockey Academy.
(WINIH Notes: The Banff Hockey Academy is a hockey preparatory school in Banff, Alberta, very near Canada's Rocky Mountains. The BHA provides its students with over 360 hours of ice time, (which includes 50-60 games) over a ten-month span.)
Elizabeth Etue interviewed young Rebecca Kohler on Dec. 19, 2010 after a tryout camp in Toronto. She is turned 16 in September 2010, born in St. Thomas, a small town in South Western Ontario. She stands 5’11 and weighs 160lbs. This was her first time trying out for Canada’s Under 18 team. She didn’t know if she had made the team when she did the interview. For a sixteen year old she seemed very composed. Below are her pre and post-world championship answers.
She scored 5 points: 2 goals and 3 assists in 5 games and was a plus 2 in her stats. Three players scored more points than her and 3 other players also tallied 5 points. For all Canadian stats click: http://tinyurl.com/4wka9h4
Dec. 19, 2010 Interview with newcomer Rebecca Kohler.
Elizabeth Etue: How has this week been with the team camp?
Rebecca Kohler: It has been a long couple days. It’s also lots of fun and a lot of hard work but a good experience.
EE: What is the most challenging?
RK: Early morning workout, your legs feel stiff and you have to work through that.
EE: How does the calibre of your Provincial Women’s Hockey League compare with this camp?
RK: I think our top 4 teams in the league are pretty good. I play for the Bluewater Hawks, we are in the top five now in league.The team made the top four last year. Here, at this camp, our red and white teams have much more depth. Everyone is good and consistent every shift. You have to do your best.
EE: What would it mean for you if you made the team?
RK: It would mean everything. I have been training for a year; 3 times a week. It is 3 and half hours training and then I run other days. We have 2 games a week and a practice. The training is my own plan but I do have a guideline from Hockey Canada. It would mean a lot.
EE: Why is Gillian Apps your favourite Team Canada player?
RK: We are similar. She is power forward and that is what I want to be like.
EE: How long have you been playing hockey?
RK: I started skating at 3 and playing at 4.
My dad is always helping, giving me advice. He is there for me. He tells me not to worry what you can’t control. And the harder you work, luckier you will get. I keep working hard to get lucky.
EE: How big is St. Thomas, your home town and do they know about you trying out?
RK: it is a small town, 30,000. When I got invited to strength and conditioning in May 2010, it was mentioned in the newspaper.
EE: Lots of US college coaches here. What are your plans?
RK: I want to go the US for hockey. No decisions yet. The calibre of hockey there is very good. I have to keep getting better.
Post-Game Thoughts from Rebecca Kohler.
Elizabeth Etue: How was your first experience being on Team Canada… both on ice and off ice?
Rebecca Kohler: My first experience was amazing. I can’t exactly put it into words, but I wish I could go back to Sweden again because I already miss playing and w extremely well earing my Canadian jersey. Off the ice was just as amazing since I got to know my teammates, extremely well who I now consider to be some of my closest friends. We shared lots of laughter.
EE: What were some of the highlights of this Under 18 World Championship?
RK: One of the highlights for me includes putting on the jersey for the first time. It was surreal because it’s what I’ve been working for and has been one of my goals since I was young. Also, after our first win, hearing the national anthem was a highlight.
EE: How did you feel about your play in each of the games?
RK: Going into the tournament, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure how much ice time I would get or what the competition level of the other countries would be like. But I thought I played well and I was happy with my play and glad I could help out the team.
EE: What was the hardest game and why?
RK: Hardest game would be the finals vs. USA. They were a lot faster and more skilled than any other team we had played up to that point, and we were also overcoming the tiredness that our bodies felt from going through a whole tournament prior to playing the U.S . But needless to say, I thought my best game personally was the finals; I thought I created lots of chances and was a force.
EE: What did the coach say to you in the dressing room after the final game vs the US?
RK: The coach mentioned how she was very proud of us even though it wasn’t how we wanted it to end. It all ended on a positive note.
EE: What do you take away from this experience?
RK: From this recent experience with Team Canada, I came home with a lot more knowledge and experience of the game, but mostly gained strong friendships I know that will last. Also, playing with the best players in the world in my age group helped me gain skill and has given me motivation to continue to work on the little details of my game.
EE: What will you do differently for the rest of the year as a result of the experience?
RK: I will continue to work hard for the rest of the year and take what I learned from my experience to continue my success further into the Hockey Canada program. I am very excited to work at what I know I can improve on, which will help me get to the next level, and that all comes from hard work.
We are waiting to interview Rebecca Kohler new comer to Team Canada. WINIH talked to her before she made the roster and will be posting both interviews once Rebecca returns to Canada after losing 5-2 to the USA in the final game in Sweden.
Here is the gold medal game report from the Under 18 World Championship.
STOCKHOLM – Team USA returned to the throne in the under-18 Women’s World Championship, beating Canada 5-2 in the final. Hannah Brandt scored one, and picked up three assists.
Team USA hadn’t gone past the eight-minute mark without scoring in their previous four games in the tournament, and Canada didn’t fare any better against the Americans. Having pressed hard the first few minutes, Team USA got a powerplay opportunity at 6:22.
Paige Savage and Alex Carpenter cycled the puck in the corner before Carpenter simply stickhandled her way to the front of the net, beating Ann-Renee Desbiens with a hard wrist shot from a very close range to give the U.S a lead in the game.
After the goal, the tempo of the game came down a bit, and Canada started to get its chances. And then Team USA got another powerplay when Sarah MacDonnell hooked down an American forward in a scoring chance.
This time it was Hannah Brandt who fooled the Canadian penalty killers with a toe drag that got her to the front of the net. She had time to wait for Desbiens to hit the ice before she snapped a wrist shot top shelf, at 15:39.
With 7:33 Team USA extended their lead to three goals. Brandt carried the puck into the Canadian zone, but was stopped by a Canadian defenceman in the high slot. She managed to pass the puck to Amanda Pelkey on her left, and Pelkey onetimed it past Desbiens.
Emily Fulton gave Canada some hope with a wrist shot that beat Megan Miller high on her stick side at 15:07 but in the next shift, just 22 seconds after Canada’s goal, Team USA struck back as Dana Trivigno slammed Brandt’s rebound to the back of the net.
But before the period was over, Canada was breathing down the Americans’ necks again. Katy Josephs made it 4-2, at 17:33, assisted by Katarina Zgraja and Nicole Kosta. After that Canada, took over the game, but Miller and the buzzer saved Team USA.
Team USA outshot Canada 24-9 in the first two periods.
Canada had a few scoring chances in the third period, but all in all, it was Team USA that controlled the game, with better speed, making it difficult for Canada to create high quality scoring chances.
Instead, Milica McMillen sealed the final score with an empty netter with 35 seconds remaining, with Brandt collecting her fourth point of the game.
RISTO PAKARINEN. www.IIHF.com
France Montour represented Team Canada from 1990 to1992, as a forward playing 10 games and scoring 15 points including 10 goals. She combined hockey and travel, leaving Canada in 1993 to spend a year in Japan as a coach/ player on a club team. Japan was host for the Olympics in 1998 and had begun to try different things to improve the calibre of play including adding foreign players into their club rosters. Montour admits it was “A great year full of learning.” Language was not the biggest challenge, it was the culture she insisted, “Hockey is not their life like it is for Canadian players. There, it is a sport compared to being in your blood like Canada. It was a different mentality, sometimes they don’t give the extra effort that you see Canadian players doing.”
In 1994 she moved to Switzerland working as a player/coach in the Swiss women’s hockey league. A month later she was asked to coach the Swiss women’s national team after their head coach left. She was the bench boss for the Swiss until 1997 and then abruptly quit hockey completely. “We didn’t make money back then,” says Montour, “I thought I should make some money, start a career and do something else.” She went back to school taking engineering, returned to Edmonton and started downhill skiing. Anything but hockey. “I took a long break. I didn’t miss it, “she insists although the separation had its difficulties, “I couldn’t watch a game, not even Hockey Night in Canada. I saw nothing for 5 years except for a few games watching my niece and nephew play.”
Team Canada came to Edmonton to play games against the boy’s team in 2009 and approached Montour about getting involved in the game as a coach after a 13 year absence. She had coaching credits and experience and says being asked to work with Hockey Canada “was great… I got right back in, and now it is hockey every week and every minute again."
Working as an assistant coach with Canada’s Under 18 team, Montour says, “Has been a big change; it is amazing. Back when I quit, the talent at the 15 to 18 year-old level was very different…now they can play hockey.” She attended a conditioning camp in August 2010 and noted, “There is a physical capacity gap between the Under 18 and Under 22 who are stronger, but that is to be expected. The talent is amazing.” The younger players are wonderful to coach,” says Montour, “They are hungry to learn and easy to coach.”
Montour currently coaches a midget girls’ team in St. Albert, Alberta, working at the local hospital as a power engineer, managing the building’s heating and air conditioning system. She now has a job and is happily back coaching hockey. This time around, she seems to have the best of both worlds; an employer who appreciate her hockey participation; “They are very supportive,” smiles Montour since “I need lots of time off.”
The photo was taken at the Mastercard Centre in Toronto at the Under 18 selection camp Dec. 19, 2010.