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Crossing the Pond to Munich, Germany

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 5 weeks since I crossed the pond from Queensbury, New York to Munich, Germany. I landed here in Munich on August 14, drove 4 hours to the Czech Republic to meet up with my new team the ESC Planegg Penguins. I have a hard time remembering landing, the car ride and meeting all of them for the first time because I was so exhausted. Minimal sleep on the plane and the time change proved to be quite the challenge.

But here I am “blogging” from my apartment in Munich. It is such a cute place in a perfect location. I live 2 feet from a tram stop that can take me right into downtown Munich (Karlsplatz). I live with another American, Evan Minnick and another teammate from northern Germany, Ronja. It is great living with her, she is a great person and not to mention living with someone who speaks the language helps tremendously. I am trying to learn the language but it is a lot harder than you might think!

The girls on the team our great and a majority of them speak English which makes the transition a little bit easier. I can’t lie once I had said that I would join the team I started to get nervous. I am very close with my family and saying yes to moving to a different country and living there for 8 months was a little unnerving. Now that I am here and settling in I am so excited that I was given this opportunity

I started playing hockey when I was 3 and as cliche as it is to say I fell in love. I started playing with boys teams but made the transition when I was 12 to the Adirondack Northstars, an all girls team. From there I learned quickly that I never wanted to stop playing and made playing in college a major priority and when I was given the opportunity to join the University of Vermont Catamounts it was a perfect fit. I had the most incredible 4 years there and towards the end of my senior season it was hard to believe that it was going to be coming to an end. If I had it my way I would have re-applied under a new name and tried to play another 4 years! This not being possible I started looking at other options– apply for jobs, find a local women’s team or just be thankful I had played for 4 years and start focusing on other things. But let’s be serious, a 9 to 5 to a recent college grad is not that appealing and I knew there was no way I was ready to hang up my skates. So I talked to my coaches and started opening doors to playing overseas.

My coaches gave me some great contacts but I did a lot of the leg work on my own. It took some time and some definite patience but I finally was in touch with the Planegg Penguins. Once I was given the offer to come and play with them it took me less than 5 minutes to decide. To see Europe and continue playing the sport that I love? It seemed like a “no brainer.”

Our season started last weekend with a game against the Vienna Sabers (EWHL) and Mannheim Maddogs (German League). We split the weekend with a loss to the Sabers and beating the Maddogs. We played in our home rink that is essentially outdoors – it certainly is a huge change from the Gutt. One side is completely open (I am not looking forward to playing in it in Janurary) and it’s not terribly fancy but, it’s home.

With the home openers under my belt I am starting to settle in to a routine. We have practice twice a week and 2 to 3 games on the weekends. I am excited to get the season going and to see Europe one rink at a time I guess. This weekend we are traveling to Slovakia and I cannot wait!

Melanie


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