One of the most promising players for Team Israel, goaltender Yael Fatiev represents the future for the developing program. Only 15 years young, her hockey resume already includes a pair of prominent tournaments, demonstrating her potential as a rising star.
Seeing action in three contests at the 2022 Maccabiah Games, representing the first time that women’s ice hockey was contested, the opportunity to play in her homeland marked a highly treasured highlight.
Having first graced the ice six years ago, Fatiev had international experience prior to the Maccabiah Games. With history emerging as an essential theme, the 2022 Women’s Worlds Division III, Group B, marked Israel’s debut in IIHF play.
Worth noting, the event also marked the debuts for the national teams of Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia. Sharing goaltending duties with Shelly Zilkha, Fatiev finished the event second overall in save percentage with a respectable .882.
As the Maccabiah Games represented the first time that Fatiev stood between the pipes versus teams from Canada and the United States, she took on the challenge with tremendous enthusiasm. Despite the lopsided scores, Fatiev never wavered, displaying a tenacity that made her one of the most admired competitors in tournament play.
“I felt excited before the games playing against American and Canadian players in a high-level hockey environment, because it is my goal to keep playing at a high-level. Actually, my dream is to play in North America but it is very expensive, and my family cannot afford that. I believe that I am a really good goalkeeper at 15 years old.
Currently, we are looking for a sponsor to get my dream to come true. Because I am a goalkeeper, I was really busy as the USA and Canada were in attack all the time in our zone. I saved a lot of shots. The games were part of a really good atmosphere. The American and Canadian players were realy nice. Kind on and off the ice. Of course, they are very good players.”
With aspirations to strengthen her skill set, Fatiev already has an exciting 2023 to look forward to. Israel shall continue to make IIHF history, serving as host nation for next year’s Women’s Worlds, Division III Group B.
Certainly, the experience from the Maccabiah Games shall cultivate Fatiev’s confidence. In addition to the ice time, the encouragement off the ice proved equally essential. With the American and Canadian players showing friendship, demonstrated by the amicable act of providing pointers to the Israeli players, along with all teams taking the time to break bread together, Fatiev found a group of role models to emulate.
“At the Maccabiah Games, I mostly enjoyed the matches. They were part of a good vibe and I am sure everyone enjoyed them. Even though we lost, we still had fun. The ice was amazing and the feeling of being with a team was amazing. We had so much enjoyment, we made a lot of memories together. Dinners with the other teams were pleasant. I met really nice and supportive people that really helped me on and off the ice.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”