"Have you played for the National Team?" A pretty common question I get, and finally… I can honestly say "yes". OK, so maybe it’s not Team Canada but I’m still pretty proud to get to be a part of Team Kazakhstan and the great group of women in that dressing room. This summer I received an email from an old coach of mine inviting players to travel to Europe and play with Team Kazakhstan in the European Women’s Champions Cup in middle of October. I had been wavering back and forth on whether I would be returning to the CWHL for the 2012/2013 season or not. This was not and still isn’t an easy decision as I still absolutely love to play hockey, my friends & teammates in the league and the CWHL is a league I truly believe in and am excited to see where it’s headed. Being given an opportunity to still play hockey but be able to not have to move from Vancouver sounded like the perfect plan for me, and can’t say it hurt that it included a trip to Europe. 🙂
Seven Canadians headed to Finland to meet up with Team Kazakhstan for training camp before heading to Minsk, Belarus for round one of the Euro Women’s Champions Cup. Was pretty smooth sailing in Finland as we won our 3 exhibition games, however landing in Belarus without 12 hockey bags wasn’t really a part of our "game plan" per se. One of those bags was in fact mine, definitely karma as after seeing the small plane I made sure to let a few of my fellow Canadians know that I was certain there was no way all our bags would arrive & likely it would be theirs… turns out I was 1/2 correct. We ended up having to play the first game with only 9 skaters and a few of us wore rental skates and borrowed gear from a men’s team. Maybe not the most comfortable situation but we pulled out the win against Romania and had our full roster back for day 2 vs Turkey. The last game was definitely going to be the most challenging of the three, being against the home team Belarus which also had 3 or 4 North Americans on their squad. We ended up winning 6-1 but it was one of those games that honestly until the last 5 minutes I wasn’t 100% certain we would win it.
I feel extremely fortunate and appreciative for the opportunity to play with this team and that my work, Twist Conditioning allows me to take off and play the sport I love for 2 weeks at a time!!! On that note we advanced to round two and are heading back overseas the beginning of December which will be played in the North of Finland against Russia, Finland & Czech Republic. Very excited!!!
Follow for updates on Twitter @hockeyhaleigh
Thank-you Twist: www.twistconditioning.com
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