Tornados are known to disrupt and cause havoc, not provide support and stability. But that’s not the case with a certain Tornado in Russia.
Fifteen members of the Russian national team play for the Moscow Tornado, the top team in the Russian women’s league. The girls train and practice together for 10 months a year, living in the same small town in the Moscow region.
“We are all friends,” said Russian defenceman Kristina Petrovskaya. “It’s like a big family.”
They share a large apartment building, where each player can have her own room. That gives latitude for the different schedules of the players. With Tornado players ranging in age from 18 to 33, there are obviously some different lifestyles. Petrovskaya said most girls are going to university, but others are in high school, and yet others have full time jobs.
“They’re more experienced players and they help the younger players,” said Petrovskaya of the latter group.
On the ice, the Tornado is the class of the six-team Russian league, not having lost any games in Moscow this year. It provides a strong base for the national team.
“It gives us confidence. We all know each other with over three and a half years of playing for the same club team.”
Petrovskaya said that as soon as the World Championship tournament ends, the team will have to return to Russia and play six games in a row in Siberia.
The women’s hockey program in Russia is still going through its development phase, with only 237 registered female players. But despite the limited talent pool, Petrovskaya said it is still a huge honour in Russia to play for the Tornado.
‘The best players play for Tornado,” said Petrovskaya with pride. “They have been through a few World Championships, two Olympics. We have a really good team.”