I am very excited and honored to be taking the NAIT OOKS women’s hockey blog over from Jordyn Tibbatts.
Before I start talking about hockey, I will let you all know about me.
I have come from a small beautiful country called Slovakia. I grew up in Slovakia until I graduated from high school and left my country to go to Canada to study and play hockey. I have two older siblings: a brother and a sister. Both my brother and sister played hockey but only my brother is still playing. They are both huge supporters of me and the reason why I have chosen hockey. I remember the day my brother asked me to come skate with his friends, I did not really want to go, because I never skated and felt like I was going to embarrass myself in front of my brother and his friends—fortunately, I didn’t.
Since that day, I started my hockey career that has been developing over 15 years. My career started playing boys’ hockey in a small town located east of Slovakia. After turning 13, I got the first invitation to play for team Slovakia Under 18. Between the age of 13-17, I played both boys’ and girls’ hockey. At age 15 I was the first girl to ever make the boys midget AAA team in Slovakia.
That was just the start of me becoming the player I am today. Years went by, I was about to turn 16 when I got called in to play for the Slovakia women’s national team. I remember that day very well because playing for a national team has always been my dream since I was a kid. After graduating from high school, I received some offers from US and Canada to play midget AAA hockey. I ended up being in a very difficult situation because I was already accepted to a university in Slovakia. However, I have decided to follow my dreams which was to study and play hockey somewhere in North America.
I ended up playing in Banff, in one of the most beautiful places in the world. BHA (Banff Hockey Academy) was a huge part of my life, as I made so many friendships. Two years of playing for the BHA flew by, and it was finally time to go to college to get some education done and play the hockey I have always dreamt of. Many schools scouted me, but NAIT was a perfect fit for me, as the school and hockey program itself had a very good name. Being at NAIT for three years has made me realize how lucky I am. Not only was I a member of a championship team, but I also got to meet a lot of nice people who pushed me to become a better person and hockey player. I am now on my fourth year of playing for the NAIT Ooks, and my third year of the Business Administration program.
Season started as usual with welcoming all returning and new players. Everyone had to make a small intro video, just to introduce themselves. This year we had a lot of new players join our team, so we have lots of learning going on and getting to know each other.
Our first week of coming back from a nice summer break, included fitness testing, training, and practices on the ice. The second weekend of September, NAIT hosted a Blue Gold Tournament, where all the midget AAA teams were invited. This is something NAIT does every year to recruit new players. Our team got to play St. Albert Slash, a team that won the ESSO CUP last year, NAX and Calgary Edge, that plays JWHL.
Following this weekend, we got to play against two CIS teams: University of Alberta (CIS National Champion) and University of Regina, and ACAC Champion MacEwan University. After those exhibition games, we took our trip to Ontario. We played three games during our time there, against York University, Guelph University and Brock University. It was a great learning experience for all of us that for sure got us ready for our first league game of the season. Besides hockey, we got an opportunity to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto as well as going to see Niagara Falls.
Our first league games happened one week after Thanksgiving. On Friday, we played in Edmonton against our long time rival, MacEwan University. We won this game in Overtime 3-2, which was very exciting and got everybody’s confidence up. Saturday was now our home opener, and jersey presentation. Unfortunately, we ended up losing our home opener 2-0. Now, we are going into another week full of practices, and are getting ready to take on the Olds Broncos on October 19th and 21st.
Wish us luck!