KLOTEN, Switzerland – Shortly before the 2014 IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend a large gathering took place in Kloten in the outskirts of Zurich hosted by Olympic bronze medallist Florence Schelling, along with a few other members of the Swiss national team.
The event was a big success as 63 girls aged 3-12 years came to the arena, home of the Swiss NLA’s Kloten Flyers.
“I was very surprised that so many girls participated, overall it was a great success with plenty of positive feedback given to me,” said Schelling.
“The girls had a lot of fun on and off the ice and are all looking forward to next year, looks like I have to organize a girls hockey day again!”
As Schelling, who backstopped the Swiss women’s national team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, worked with the young goaltenders the rest of girls received a ton of coaching support from Swiss ice hockey stars. Schelling’s teammate Laura Benz and U18 national team player Shannon Sigrist came to help out, as did men’s national team head coach Glen Hanlon. After the on-ice work Benz, Schelling, and Sigrist held an autograph session with the girls.
“Florence approached me to do it, we’re working now in a country that ended up earning a medal in the Olympics and we’re looking to grow this sport,” said Hanlon, who spoke to the assembled girls in the dressing room before going out onto the ice.
“My message that I sent to them was that the (national team) girls who were in the room were all Olympians and all medallists,” said Hanlon. “When they were all starting they never had any women that had won a medal before them and so not really anyone that they could look up to and be inspired by.”
“Now these young girls have these women who were in their same position fifteen years ago, and now they’re just starting out, so I just told them to smile and laugh when playing hockey, and I finished by saying welcome to the greatest game in the world.”