Always striving for peak accomplishment in both approach and result, it has all translated into an unfolding narrative where Victoria Vigilanti has established herself as an integral component to any team’s success. Through it all, she is proudly devoted to the game and its unfolding history, while contributing forward towards the potential for transcendence.
Representing the potential for North American players to excel in Europe, especially in terms of leadership and insight, Vigilanti is helping to manifest an important chapter in the game’s evolution there. Akin to North America, the rinks throughout Europe hold that charming yet symbolic power, representing a stirring emotional connection.
“Playing in Europe really could not have been a better experience. I think what I like the most is that throughout the week you can be playing hockey and then the next day you are traveling to some of the most amazing places in the world! By being able to play the sport that you love and also seeing all these amazing European cities at the same time, it is truly something amazing that I am forever grateful for!”
Having starred with EHV Sabres Wien from 2013-16, she was an integral component to their success. Throughout her seasons with the Sabres, she was a model of efficiency, consistently registered a goals against average under 2.00. Although the 2016-17 campaign sees Vigilanti bring her goaltending acumen to KMH Budapest, the Sabres shall always hold a cherished place in her career,
“There is nothing bad I can say about the Sabres, Such an amazing team, with staff who truly love the game and want the girls to have the best experience possible. I would have to say my favorite moment while playing with the Sabres would have to be when we went to the European Cup. The first year was in Helsinki and the second year was in Russia.
This was a time where the team came together and really played some amazing hockey. We came together as a team and we also got to visit some amazing cities. Preparing for this great hockey tournament showed a true testament of how great European hockey can be.
A passionate champion for equality, addressing socially engaged undercurrents in the game’s existence, Vigilanti recalls how her third season with the Sabres saw the development of a sad chapter. While the fight for equality and the challenges of growth are a tangled relationship, Vigilanti speaks with great candor, acknowledging the need for the game to continue to grow,
“Unfortunately, during my third year this tournament was cancelled due to funding…which was very sad because this was the peak of women’s hockey and it showcased Europe’s talent. There is no funding but the men continue to have all these high budget tournaments but the women cannot have ONE tournament throughout the year.”
Vigilanti’s achievements at the collegiate level with the Quinnipiac Bobcats (based out of Hamden, Connecticut) were the benchmark that succeeding goaltenders such as Chelsea Laden and Sydney Rossman would aspire to. Known for a positive attitude and a never say quit approach, Vigilanti helped to lay the foundation for the future success that Quinnipiac would achieve. It is that type of commitment and work ethic that continues to set a positive example for her European teammates to look up to,
“I definitely see myself as a little bit of both but mostly for the younger girls on the team. I am always open to help the girls during practice and motivate them to become the best they can be! I do think that having imports on each team help develop the younger players and give them motivation that maybe one day, they can go to America and play at a top university! A lot of the younger girls’ goals are to play at a university in America. Yet, they are unclear of the process and how competitive that it is, so I have tried to help them so they can have the best chance to do so! There is so much talent here in Austria and it is sad to see so many amazing players not seen by top schools, but hopefully one day that will change and we can see some more Austrian players in the NCAA!”
In her storied senior season with the Bobcats, Vigilanti would record her last shutout on February 23, 2013 against the Brown Bears in a 24-save effort. In addition, it was her second straight shutout, having also blanked Yale a day earlier, requiring only 12 saves. Of note, her last win between the pipes for the Bobcats took place on March 2, 2013 against St. Lawrence, a sterling 57-save performance highlighting her memorable career.
Overall, Vigilanti was a marvel for Quinnipiac, as attested by her astounding 71 victories. Appearing in 131 games, also a program record, she would log 7900 minutes, record over 3000 saves, complemented by a .931 save percentage, along with a sparkling 1.69 GAA and a superlative .608 win percentage.
“During my 4 years at Quinnipiac I experienced so many new things and it really helped me become the person I am today! I miss so many things about that school but what I miss the most is how we were treated as athletes! We had top of the line facilities, with unlimited ice time and staff that was always there to help you. Once you leave a D1 athlete life and enter real life, you realized that you took the little things for granted, such as, ‘oh now I need buy my own tape and there is no one to sharpen my skates when I need them! Plus the true torture of buying your own equipment (laughs)’.”
It is how the player approaches the game that makes it so special, allowing for the sense of awe and wonder that defines the visceral yet potentially emotional journey, shared by player and fan alike in a triumphant singularity. Such a fantastic foray was evident for Vigilanti, a sense shared by teammates and fans alike, a metaphorical cloud filled with dreams and aspirations, which becomes fondly animated upon the opening face-off.
Such symbolic power embodied Vigilianti’s four fantastic seasons at Quinnipiac. As she fondly recalls the magic of her time there, there is no question that she has every reason to be proud of her success at both Quinnipiac and in Europe. While her collegiate career was the launching point towards greater moments, her development into an ambassador for the game represents a heroic effort, providing an empowering confidence wherever she plays,
“My favorite moment there would have to have been my whole freshmen year. Our team that year really came together and changed history at Quinnipiac. From coming into a team with only 3 wins and turning it around towards a 20 win season was something that was really special to be part of. Now seeing the team winning the ECAC title, and a top contender to be a national champion, it makes you still feel a part of their journey, because you were a part of a special team that changed the Quinnipiac name to a hockey school."
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Image obtained from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EHVSabresWien/