“Our goal is to get to the quarter-finals,” she said the other day before her team did, indeed, make the quarters. They lost a heartbreaker to Russia in a shootout yesterday, but that doesn’t put a damper on Hauser’s great U18 career, which will come to an end on Saturday with the 5th/6thplace game against Sweden.
“I think in previous years the team spirit wasn’t as good as this year,” she acknowledged. “We didn’t play as a team. We need to have that good team spirit. We need to fight, to get everyone playing. No one player can do it on her own.”
Indeed, the Swiss made the quarter-finals for the first time in their WW18 history here in Obihiro, and it was this team spirit that helped contribute to the success. The last three years the team fought for its life in the Relegation Round. This year, it created the best drama of the tournament so far, losing to Russia in the 10thround of the shootout.
For Hauser, it’s all a dream come true.
“I started skating when I was three,” she recalled. “We lived across the street from an outdoor ice rink that was made every year when it got cold. My brother and father played, so then I started playing hockey. We lived near Zurich. I liked it and skated every day. Now it’s a habit, and I can’t live without it!”
This year Hauser has been partnered by coach Steve Huard with Lisa Poletti, a 14-year-old with lots of potential. Huard sees Hauser’s role as mentorship as well as performance.
“I have a more important role with the team this year,” Hauser admitted. “I’m expected to be a leader. I used to be very nervous when I started playing at U18. I was afraid to fail, to make a mistake. Now it’s getting better, but I’m still nervous before games because they all matter so much to me.”
As her U18 career winds down, Hauser is thinking big. “Of course I want to play for the senior national team! But I have to work hard, and get better in so many areas. Off the ice, I need to train hard, watch games to learn, so that when the game is moving quickly, I know what to do in each situation. I’m a defensive player, not so much offensive. I think I’m a pretty good skater with some speed. But I need to have more self-confidence on and off the ice. I know that.”
Hauser has lots to work on, sure, but she also has plenty of potential. She’ll be given a chance on the senior team, of that there can be no doubt. It's amatter of when, not if. And given her personality, she’ll be ready when the chance is presented to her. Hauser is a name women’s hockey fans will hear again.