Even though my time with family during the holidays got cut short, I got to spend the remainder of my Christmas Break with my second family, the NAIT Ooks, in Europe! I have always wondered what it would be like to play hockey over seas. Many people dream that one day they will get the chance to do it and for me I am very lucky to now say that I have played the game of hockey in Denmark, Sweden and Germany.
Traveling with 19 of my teammates along with my coaches made the trip even better. I couldn’t have had a better group of people to spend the 12 days with. We left for our venture on the 26th of December and arrived back home on January 8th. Our 9 hour flight wasn’t as bad as it was put out to be, well at least for me. I basically slept through the whole trip due to lack of sleep the night before. I was excited! It took us a day our two to get use to the time change since they are 8 hours ahead of us in Europe. Our journey started off in Germany and ended in Sweden. It was a blast from the moment we arrived until the moment we left.
We stepped onto the ice for the first time on the 28th where we practiced for an hour then played a scrimmage game against the team from Hamburg. On the 29th we played an actual game against Hamburg and it took place on an outdoor rink, by far the nicest outdoor rink I have ever played on. It was such a neat experience, cold as well, but really awesome to be able to take part in. After the game we met with the opposing team and had supper together at a restaurant across from the rink. It gave us the opportunity to socialize and get to know more about them and their lifestyles which was great for all of us. We won both of our games vs. Hamburg.
We toured a lot in Germany since there is so much history there and I must say they have some pretty sweet shopping there as well. One of the highlights, besides the hockey, was getting to celebrate New Year’s in Berlin. Berlin hosts the biggest New Year’s party in the world and since our coach is so nice, she let us spend a couple hours there to soak in the experience. It was amazing! Everyone had such a great time and now we can say we hit up the biggest New Year’s party in the world.
After Germany we took a ferry to Denmark. Right when the boat ride was done we made our way to the rink to prepare for our game. We spent very little time in Denmark and played one game against Hvidovre. We lost our game 2-1.
Since Denmark is so close to Sweden we bussed over the long bridge and into Sweden we were! We passed through Copenhagen again when we were on our way back to Germany to catch our flight home. We toured a Carlson’s Beer Factory on our way through which was very interesting and that was basically all of our time in Denmark.
Sweden was by far my favorite part of the trip. I got told I fit in well there with my blonde hair and blue eyes. The city we stayed in called Malmo was very pretty and the people were so nice. Instead of staying in a hostel like we did in Germany, we were in an actual hotel. The team was pumped to have our own bathrooms and no bunk beds. Our first game in Sweden was on the 4th of January and we had to travel about 3 hours to get to our game. The team ranged from 12-25 year olds so there was quite a difference in ages. On January 6th we played our second game in Malmo against the Redhawks. They were also a team that had a wide range of ages on their team. We ended up winning both of our games in Sweden.
Our days weren’t as full as they were in Germany so we had more time to pick and choose what we wanted to do. One of the nights we went to a Pro Men’s hockey game (Malmo Red Hawks) which was exciting and fun. We were amazed with how intense and loud the fans were, I had to take a video of it.
To sum it up, our trip was a blast! It was full of laughs, good times and it was such an honorable experience for all of us. It is definitely something we will never forget and spending it with my teammates made it even better. Our ending record in Europe was 4-1 and that is something our team should be proud of. Since our return home we have been back practicing and preparing for our weekend of hockey coming up against the SAIT Trojans.