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Olympic experience a proud pinnacle for Josefine Jakobsen

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The first, and only, player recognized twice by the Danish Ice Hockey Union as Female Player of the Year, Josefine Jakobsen’s legacy took on a more profound meaning. With the captain’s C adorning her jersey, she graced the ice at Beijing’s Wukesong Arena making history for her homeland.

With Denmark qualifying for the 2022 Winter Games, an historic first in the Scandinavian nation’s sporting history, it signified a sensational summit for Jakobsen. Raised in Aalborg, Denmark’s fourth largest city, with a history that traces back to the Iron Age, she first debuted with the national team as a teenager during the 2007-08 season. Additionally, her brother Julian has also worn Denmark’s colours, having played professionally in three different leagues.

Reputed as a solid two-way center, Jakobsen excelled on both sides of the Atlantic. Competing at the NCAA level with the University of North Dakota (UND), she compiled a solid 137 points in 147 appearances. Worth noting, the four seasons spent at UND also provided some fascinating Olympic linkages.

From the outset, the two greatest players in program lore, Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux were the first twins to participate in women’s ice hockey at the Olympics. Members of the United States gold medal winning team in 2018; it marked their third appearance at the Games.

Brian Idalski, Jakobsen’s head coach while at UND, served in the same role with China at this year’s Games, finishing in fourth place in Group B. Coincidentally, Denmark also participated in Group B, facing off against China in a 3-1 loss on February 4. Adding to the theme of linkages is the fact that Peter Elander, a member of Idalksi’s coaching staff at UND, took on the role of head coach for Denmark, coaching Jakobsen once again in her career.

Undeniably, Jakobsen was an essential contributor for Denmark in the pursuit of their Olympic dream. During the final round of qualifying, held in November 2021, the Danish team competed in the Group D tournament in Fussen, Germany. The opening game versus Italy saw Jakobsen provide one of her greatest performances.

Scoring twice, part of a thrilling three-point output, including an assist on a goal by Michelle Weis, which contributed towards a convincing 4-0 win. With Cassandra Repstock-Romme earning the win, the aforementioned would become notable names in Beijing.

Appearing in all four of Denmark’s games in Group B preliminary round play in Beijing, Jakobsen amassed four points, emerging as her team’s leading scorer. Simultaneously providing strong leadership, the feeling of national pride set an exciting tone.

Along with her Danish teammates, making their Olympic debut on February 4, 2022, it represented a seminal moment. Despite a hard-fought 3-1 loss against host China, which saw Malene Frandsen, scored Denmark’s first-ever Olympic goal, Jakobsen recorded her first Olympic goal in the following contest.

On the opposite end of a 6-2 final against eventual Group B champion Japan, Jakobsen with only five seconds remaining. Scoring on a power play opportunity, Persson and Weis logged the assists to her milestone goal.

Rising to the occasion versus Czechia on February 7, it marked a career highlight for Jakobsen. Scoring Denmark’s first goal of the game, unassisted, she became the first Danish player to log two goals in an Olympic tournament. With the score tied at 2-apiece after two periods, Jakobsen made history once again in the third period. Earning the assist, along with Nicoline Jensen, on Sabine Glud’s game-winning goal, Jakobsen recorded the first multi-point game by a Danish player in Olympic play.

With the 3-2 triumph versus Czechia, Denmark was mathematically in contention for a spot in the quarterfinals. As the top three teams of Group B play automatically qualified, the Danes required a win in regulation time versus Sweden to climb over China and land in third place.

Entering this All-Scandinavian matchup as the emotional favorites, Denmark trailed by a 1-0 mark in the second period. Displaying her tremendous playmaking skills, Jakobsen and Lilli Friis-Hansen collaborated with assists on a goal by Julie Oksbjerg. With penalties plaguing Denmark in the third period, falling in a 3-1 final, the valiant effort by Jakobsen and her teammates exerted throughout the tournament did not go unnoticed, gaining the praise and respect of fans and players alike.

Although the loss to Sweden was not the desired outcome for Jakobsen’s Olympics experience, it provided a feeling of coming full circle. Having played professionally in Sweden’s SDHL for Segeltorps IF and Djurgardens IF, Jakobsen is one of the greatest players in league history. The first Danish player to capture an SDHL scoring championship, her hockey sojourn in Sweden includes three championships.

Having worn the Danish jersey since 2008, Jakobsen was an essential contributor towards the gradual progression of her homeland in the world rankings. From Division II play in the IIHF Women’s Worlds, followed by promotion to Division 1B, then Division 1A, the wave of momentum culminated with the dream of participating at Beijing 2022. Shining on the game’s biggest stage, those who were not familiar with Jakobsen will now recognize her as a world-class competitor.

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