Stronghold for Swiss
Stronghold for Swiss
2014 MVP Schelling looking forward to Women’s Worlds
Her achievements do all the talking and they make her one of the most outstanding female goaltenders of women’s hockey.
Growing up with two older brothers isn’t an easy task, especially when they put you between the pipes and shoot pucks at you. For Florence Schelling it was nothing that she shied away from, but embraced it and made it her own. She didn’t stop there though, spending her whole adolescence on the ice playing against the opposite gender, even becoming the first female in Switzerland to play an exhibition game in the National League B.
Playing against tough opposition all of her life gave Schelling the tools to be the best at her craft, and at the ripe age of 13 she made her debut for the Swiss national team, a position that she has occupied for the past 15 years. Since that day, the now 28-year-old has year in and year out performed on the world stage, putting up incredible numbers every time she puts on her jersey bearing the Swiss Cross at a world championships or Olympic Games.
“It is always a great honour to put on a Swiss jersey,” explains Florence Schelling. “To be able to represent your country on an international stage is very special. Obviously, putting that on and making the team every year makes me very proud of myself.”
The Swiss women’s national team has been developing in the right direction since Schelling joined it, which has made her performances in goal all the more super-human. Taking away nothing from women that stand in front of her, Schelling has led her team from the back, facing a daunting amount of shots in the majority of her World Championships and Olympic Games, while on most occasions she gives her team the opportunity to stay in the game and lets the others do what they do best.
“We are great group of girls in the national team and we have a great team spirit and everything. It is just a pleasure to go to the national team and be on the ice with those great girls.”
The 2014 Sochi Olympics, was the pinnacle of Schelling’s career and cannot highlight more her worth to the Swiss team. In what was already her third Olympics, Schelling faced a tournament high 276 shots in six starts, guiding her team to an eventual bronze medal win against Sweden, earning her not only the prize of Best Goaltender but also the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Her 2014 Olympics may take the cake, but ultimately that performance is something that she produces every time she steps out onto the ice. Schelling has been rock-solid for her clubs and her nation for over a decade and somewhat unwillingly to give away her simple secret to success.
“I’ll keep it a secret,” Schelling mutters while she laughs. “I think it is the love of the game. I love playing hockey and that is what is keeping me to try and get better every single day.”
On the back of another fine tournament by Schelling, who held a goals-against-average of 1.00 and a 94.1 save percentage, the Swiss will head into the Women’s World Championships, in Plymouth, high on confidence after recently qualifying for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, in PyeongChang. Switzerland went undefeated in the tournament with dominant wins against Norway, Denmark and most importantly the Czech Republic.
After fighting for survival in the relegation playoff in the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship the Swiss find themselves in Group B where they will need to qualify for the playoffs against newly promoted Germany, Sweden and the Czechs. After a 4-1 victory against the Czech Republic to qualify for the Olympic Games, Schelling and the Swiss team know that they have what it takes to beat their group rival, although foresee that they will be out with a vengeance when they face-off for a second time in just six weeks on tomorrow’s opening day of 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships.
“We know that the Czechs are going to come out strong in the World Championship, they are going to try and get revenge of us winning and destroying their Olympic dream for the upcoming Olympics. We are aware that they are going to come out strong, but we know that we are going to try and come out as strong as well,” explains Schelling, who plays her club hockey in Linkoping, Sweden.
If the Swiss can get off to a good start and get a win against the Czechs, another victory against Sweden or German should see them progress to the quarter-finals and achieving their goal of staying away from the relegation playoff and getting a chance to play for a medal.
“I think we just need to play the way that we have been playing at the Olympic Qualification tournament. Playing with fun and with emotions and working just as hard as we can and skating and everything. I feel once we do all this our chances are high,” says a determined Florence Schelling.
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