This is an Along the Board’s guest post and part of our ‘Through their eyes’ series, where we tell stories from those who are closest to the games: coaches, players, volunteers and more. In our second post, we hear a first-hand account of Victoria Bach’s return to Team Canada’s National Development Team on their trip to Germany to face-off for the Nations Cup.
It was the day I had been looking forward to for the entire month. This was the day I got to travel to Germany for the Nations Cup with the Team Canada National Development Team.
The journey began when I received a phone call from one of the Hockey Canada coaches informing me that I made the team and would be traveling to Germany to play for my country.
I was super excited to be able to compete in this tournament again. Last year, I had the honor of putting on the maple leaf for the same tournament, where we won gold against Sweden. Being able to put the Canada jersey on once again this past week was so exciting and a dream come true.
Finally, on December 27, we flew to St. Polten, Austria for some pre-tournament action. When we first arrived, we had the opportunity to explore St. Polten. We went on several walks through the beautiful streets and trails around the city.
Once we were done sightseeing, we had a couple practices to get used to playing with each other. All of us were from different teams, and were not familiar with one another. Next followed three games against Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. It was a great experience to be able to play against these countries that we do not normally get to play against with Team Canada.
After the pre-tournament games, we headed to Füssen, Germany, where the real fun began. The bus ride form St. Polten Austria is usually a five-hour trip but it ended up taking us the entire day. People were getting stopped and asked for passport checks, but we actually made a lot of fun out of it. We all played a game called heads up, and some other fun games to help pass the time. This was one of my favorite memories of the trip — it was a time where our entire team got closer and it’s a memory I will never forget.
After the five-hour road trip turned into a nine-hour road one, we finally arrived in Füssen. Our first game was the next day, so we didn’t get very much rest but we were all excited to play. We opened up the tournament against Sweden; this was a very fast and exciting game. We expected them to come out and be a very competitive team to play against, and they were. It was a very tight matchup, and the game went into overtime and eventually a shoot-out where we took the win. Our next game was against the Russians, a very tough challenge; this was one of the most aggressive and hard-working teams we faced in the tournament. We all knew we were in for a fight, that we had to stick to our game plan and give it our all in order to beat them. The game was a grind, but we ended up coming on top with a 4-2 win.
The next day was one of my favorite days of the trip: a day off. Our team had the chance to do some site-seeing and experience some Germany food as well as the beautiful Füssen. I was lucky enough to have my parents and grandma make the trip down to come watch me play. We all took a trip up to the Neuschwanstein Castle, the castle that inspired Walt Disney. Last year I made the trip up the castle and took the long hike to the top, but this year I took pictures with my family and toured the area around it. It was a great experience getting to see all of these amazing historical areas.
I ended the night with a delicious dinner at a small German restaurant located close to the beautiful hotel we were staying at. This was definitely a big highlight of the trip and I enjoyed spending time with my family and getting to share this experience with them.
After our day off, the day we had been waiting for was finally here: the gold medal game! We faced off against Finland, and we were pumped for this game, myself included. I wanted another gold medal more than anything, especially with this amazing group of girls I got the opportunity become great friends with during the last couple of weeks.
The game was one of the most exciting games I had played in a while, a back-and-forth game. We would score, then Finland would tally back, and before we knew it the game ended up going into overtime. The second shift into overtime, our team ended it and came out with the win!
I was so excited to have experienced this amazing journey with such a great group of girls. It will definitely be a trip I will never forget. Any time you get to represent your country and put on that maple leaf it is truly a feeling that you cannot describe. Now I am excited to get things started again with my Terriers and take home the second half of the season.