In my opinion at this point in 2014, the two most important and influential players in Women’s Hockey all over the Globe are Florence Schelling and Noora Raty, and what they choose to do after the Olympics will influence young women all over the world because what they have done during the Olympics and the years and months preceding it was nothing short of inspiring.
There is no doubt that being a top female Hockey Athlete born outside of North America is a daily challenge, but these two women are showing the world that the Female Hockey spirit is alive and thriving throughout so many countries on our great Earth. Either one of these terrific Athletes are both willing and capable of stealing a game from any opponent as well as dictating the ferocity of their teammates playing in front of them.
With a flawless NCAA career and an amazing silver medal performance at the World Women’s Hockey Championship, Noora Raty propelled herself into the daily conscience of aspiring goaltenders (and snipers) everywhere. Her cool and icy demeanour in the blue paint is the pinnacle of determination and passion, her performance breathtaking. It is crucial that Noora stay within Women’s Hockey in as many capacities as she can, as a player, a teacher and most importantly a leader. Her confidence is infectious and can be seen in those playing alongside her.
Florence Schelling is in the same boat, with her spectacular college career and her current performance at the Olympics she has certainly made the most of every opportunity she has earned. Instead of the intimidating glare that awaits you with a Goalkeeper like Raty, Schelling although equally as skilled and calm, wears her confidence all over her face. She loves this game, the challenge, the passion and the moment. Every big time save is followed quickly by an enormous and wonderful full face smile.
Raty and Schelling are as important to future of Women’s Hockey as any North American born player, they personally afford everyone on the ice both teammates and opponents the opportunity to get better, be better, be the best. They make you work harder and smarter either inspired by them or in spite of them. They have taken to the world stage and flourished. It is not ever easy, yet they never back down or take a day off. They don’t carry their teams; they lead them and give them more time and space to find their own greatness.
Although Women’s Hockey is not financially where it should be, the exposure is growing and it grows because these women will not back down. They don’t feed into the negativity or the ignorance that today’s media can create. They love this game, they live this game and they need to continue to feed this game.
Everything these two Magical Athletes accomplish cannot always been seen on the scoreboard, but it is forever visible in the youth in the stands, and the transfer of passion to the up and coming on the ice. The momentum these two alone have created in their home countries as well the Hockey Community the world over is tremendous and needs to keep moving.
My ten year old daughter is a left winger, and the performance of Raty and Schelling has opened her eyes to what it takes to perform at her best, to never give up and to do everything you can to be the best teammate you can in the face of adversity. The level at which Women all over the World are playing this game is becoming ever closer and this is due to the attitude and drive that Global Female Athletes have in their approach to this game.
To both Noora and Florence I thank you both for your inspiration and dedication to The Game that so many of us hold so dear, I thank you further for being two of the best Global Ambassadors The Game has ever seen. I can see your confidence and passion in so many of the young girls picking up sticks for the first time. What you are putting into Women’s Hockey will be your ultimate lifetime reward, so when you don’t feel as though you were at your best or when you feel discouraged, find any rink anywhere in the world where girls play, those girls are there because of Women like you.