By: Jeff Krever
The Carleton Ravens women’s hockey team will be keeping a close eye on Sara Seiler (Miesbach, Germany) this weekend as she prepares to represent Team Germany at the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Burlington, Vt.
The German national team will join hockey giants U.S.A. and Canada along with Finland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Slovakia with a berth in the 2014 Sochi Olympics on the line.
One of the more experienced players on the German roster, Seiler says she’s excited for the challenge.
“I think our goal has to be to stay up in the top division, so avoid relegation. If we do that I think we can be happy, but it’s going to be tough for us just because we haven’t been playing with top nations for a few years now,” she says.
Seiler has appeared regularly for Germany internationally, and with the tournament being played on North American ice this year, she won’t have any trouble adjusting to the smaller ice surface like other international players might.
Ravens head coach Shelley Coolidge says she has little doubt Seiler will make an impact at the tournament.
“I think Sara’s going to have a real opportunity here to step up for Germany this year,” says Coolidge.“For me to see her every day on ice over the last three years, she’s working harder now to get more pucks to the net . . . she was one of our top offensive players this year and by her creating time and space for herself and starting to shoot, that’s an area that she’s going to really benefit from.”
Coolidge says Seiler’s international experience has also been beneficial for her Ravens teammates.
“Our program’s very proud of Sara. She works very hard for the experience and the opportunity to play at the international level. For our girls to be able to play with an Olympian and a World Championship athlete, it has been really valuable for them to see what it’s like for players to play at the next level, and it helps raise the level of competition in our athletes.”
The highlight of Seiler’s career came in 2006 when she represented Team Germany at the Olympics in Torino, Italy, finishing in fifth place. She says she’s as excited as ever to help guide her country back to the Olympics.
“My favourite thing is just hearing my national anthem, just being proud for my country. I think it’s still really significant when I put that jersey on, I’m really proud to play for my country and it’s really something special,” says Seiler.
Germany opens its tournament on Saturday, April 7 against Switzerland at 5 p.m.
Preliminary Round:Saturday, April 7, 5 p.m. – Germany vs. SwitzerlandSunday, April 8, 1 p.m. – Germany vs. SwedenTuesday, April 10, 5 p.m. – Germany vs. Slovakia
For additional tournament information, visit: http://www.iihf.com/channels1112/ww/format.html