Leading into the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, a unique exhibition game will see the Germany’s national women’s team compete against the Carleton University Ravens on Sunday, March 31.
The Carleton University campus will also serve as the training facility for the German squad prior to this year’s world championship.
The contest will be a unique one for Germany’s Sara Seiler. A former captain with the Ravens, many of her former teammates still don the Ravens jersey. The opportunity to represent Germany while playing her former team shall be a unique event for her.
“Playing against them and still knowing so many players will be a bit different,” she wrote in an email interview.
Reflecting on her Ravens career, being the captain was a cherished experience for Seiler. “It was a great thing to come here as an international player and be a captain at a Canadian university. It was very special. I was very happy that the team and the coaches trusted me with that responsibility. I was very proud of that.”
Along with Seiler, German goaltender Jenny Harss has also competed at the university level in North America. Harss played for head coach Shannon Miller (who coached Canada to a gold medal at the 1997 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Kitchener, Ont.) at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
In 2010, Harss would claim a national championship with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Harss played against players from Finland and Sweden and even Canadians on the Bulldogs that season – including Canada’s National Women’s Team returnees this year, Haley Irwin and Jocelyne Larocque.
Seiler’s involvement with Carleton University signified a great trend for the Ravens. Her success opened the door for other international players to don the same jersey. Having joined the Ravens in 2010, goaltender Eri Kiribuchi was born in Japan and honed her skills in the Czech Republic. In the autumn of 2012, Hedda Gjerde, a member of the Norwegian national women’s team, also joined the Ravens.
Victoria Gouge, an alternate captain with the Ravens, and their second leading scorer in 2012-13 is looking forward to the contest. “It is pretty cool. It will be a little bit of a different game, the European style of hockey. Playing against will be exciting. It will be a lot of fun playing her and seeing her on the ice again.”
Kelsey Vander Veen, who is in her final season with the Ravens, also played alongside Seiler at Carleton. Having played with Seiler was a great experience for Vander Veen. “She just commands respect. She knows when to be tough on people. You cannot help but respect her. If Seils tells you that you did something wrong, you probably did. Yet she will be the first to tell you if you did something good.”
As this match will represent Vander Veen’s final appearance in a Ravens uniform, the opportunity to share the ice with her former captain Seiler is one that she will treasure. “We are extra excited! We are really prepared to play with them.”