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O’Toole Moves from Switzerland to Russia to Continue Her Professional Career

A long overdue blog entry. First off, hello everyone! I hope everyone’s season is off to a good start! I am no longer writing from Switzerland. Now my thoughts and experiences come from Ufa, Russia.


I’ll start by explaining how I ended up playing for Agidel. While I was backpacking last April, I was unsure as to whether or not I would be playing hockey the following season. My travel buddy, Melissa Jaques, who I have know for 7 years, was playing for a team in Russia and telling me all about her experiences- She suggested I look into it. In the midst of finding out information on teams and finding out who was looking for imports, I received an emailed from O’Hara Shipe asking if I would be interested in playing with a newly formed team, Adigel.


A little information on Agidel- 

-The women’s team was created last year, 2010/2011 with mostly former Bandy players.

– It is part of the Salavat Yulaev Hockey Club (www.hcsalavat.ru) (http://hcsalavat.ru/team/150/)

-There are 6 teams in the league and we play each team 6 times for a total of 36 games per season.


Ill get into more details as I learn more about how things work and blog more!!


Back to how I became a member of Agidel… I confirmed to OHara that I was interested in being a part of the team sometime around June. I was then told that I had to to Russia for a couple days to have a physical and this would take place sometime in July. Basically come all this way for an hour long doctors appointment. I figured, gotta do what you gotta do and got moving with a visa. Shortly after asking for time off work, I was informed that the plans had changed and that I would be asked to come for a month instead. I was a little shocked to say the least but went with the flow and gave my 2 weeks notice at work.


We trained VERY hard off ice during this time. Even got to train with a member of Russia’s bobsledding team!!! At the end of the month, our visitor visas were expired and we had to leave the country ( I had a slight visa problem and was forced to stay a little longer- makes for a good story :)) We got to go home for a week or so at this time to grab our winter goodies in preparation for a russian winter.


I flew from Fredericton to Prague to meet the team for more off ice and on ice training sessions. After spending the first couple weeks in the country side of Czech, we were about to compete in our first tournament. There were teams from CZech, Austria, Russia, Canada, Germany, and The Netherlands. We ended up taking second!! 

 

Once we returned to Russia from Czech we started to prepare for the season to start. I will be sure to have a quality blog just on the games so far this season. As of right now, this blog is the bare bones as to what the Russian Experience is all about!! Every single day I experience something new and different. That’s what this is all about. I have met great people, witnessed great places and things (along with strange places and things), and have some memories that will last forever! I truly see this as an experience to learn and grow and could not be happier with my decision to come play in Ufa, Russia. I hope everything is tip top back in north america or wherever else you are reading this from! 

Miss all my Friends and Family.. Hope to see you at Christmas!


Much Love,

Sara


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