In my last blog I promised to tell you why playing in Finland this season is best for me. Factors that I considered in my decision were family & friends, work, school, off ice training, on ice training, number and quality of games, and travel.
1. Family and friends.
Most of my family and closest friends live in Finland; well I guess it’s safe to say in Helsinki or the metropolitan area. This didn’t play a huge role in my decision as I have learnt that distance makes relationships stronger. The ones that mean the most to me lasted over the four years that I went to college in the US, in fact, they only got stronger through the years.
I am sure I would have been able to work at an after-school program (where I work now, and love it) anywhere else as long as I could speak the language. Besides, the best way to learn a language is to live in that country so I’m sure I would have managed that job in the countries that I was considering.
School on the other hand was a bit more difficult because I got accepted to the University of Helsinki to do my Master’s degree in Science of Nutrition. I had two options: study on a distance while playing overseas, or managing all three: playing, working and going to school in Finland.
4. On ice training.
In Finland I get to practice with boys every week in addition to morning practice with a group of guys. Also, I have the option of working with a skating technique coach at the HockeyBase in Vantaa. I have found it very helpful as we videotape my skating on the skating mill.
5. Number and quality of games.
They say the league in Sweden is better than the league in Finland. I don’t know since I have never played there. Sure, the Swedish teams have some North American players and some top players from central Europe as well. I like the playoff system we have here in Finland: QF, SF and Final series are all best of 5.
“Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life is not meant to be lived in one place.” Being a huge fan of this quote made my decision even harder. I love traveling, and not in the sense of being a tourist and going sightseeing and seeing all the tourist attractions. I want to learn the language, see what people do in their everyday lives, how they behave, how they see the world and why, and see the world from their point of view. A big part of me wanted to go so bad!
And last but definitely not least …
7. Off-ice training.
This was the factor that was most important to me in the end. It’s important for me to be able to participate in the planning of my training program. I started making big changes in my training about a year ago and I like the way I train now. Basic gymnastics, body control, body-weight circuits, HIIT, aerobic training, physical therapy exercises, mobility, movements to support skating etc. I love learning new things about my body and trying to come up with new ideas and movements weekly and implementing them in my training!
In addition, we have a small group of 4-5 people that train together a couple of mornings every week at the Training For Warriors Helsinki gym, and I spend half my free time playing with the puck at the HockeyBase training center that I mentioned earlier.
After all, I made huge steps not only as a hockey player but also as a human being last year, so why leave? If I’m not happy after this season I can always go somewhere next season.
The second best tournament in women’s hockey after World Championships, the 4 Nations Cup is this week in Sundsvall, Sweden! I’m missing out on this year’s tournament for the first time since making the team on 2009, due to an injury that happened at the prep camp. Not too happy about the timing but people go through so much more! Can’t wait to watch the games online and cheer on my teammates!