BEHIND THE SCENES: DENMARK'S U18 NATIONAL WOMEN'S HOCKEY TEAM
In the Silkeborg Sportscenter locker room Saturday, Sept. 23, the Denmark U18 National Women's Team listen intently to Coach Bjørn Peters as he reminds them of their responsibilities this practice. The team faces Norway in December 2017 and travels to Krynica, Poland to play in the World Cup 6-12 January 2018.
Debbie Lystlund Andersen, 17, of Silkeborg waits for her turn to enter the ice during the U18 National Women's Team September practice. Coach Peters said that hockey in Denmark is a niche sport, even moreso for girls.
The only picture in the U18 Women's break room at the Silkeborg Sportscenter rink is a team photograph of the Jutland Vikings, an all-male team. For one Saturday each month, the girls come to Silkeborg from clubs all over Jutland to practice as the U18 Women’s National Team.
Bjørn's own daughter plays hockey as well, which is one reason he became the U18 coach. His coaching style aims to focus on the possibilities instead of the differences.
When not practicing with her national team, Mille Sørensen (center), 15, is with her co-ed, Silkeborg Ishockey U15 team daily, "I hope I can play for a long time."
At a co-ed practice, Katrine Lind, 16, defends her goal during a 3X3 game drill. The teams are split by gender, two boy teams and one girl team. Each had equal playing time. When the two boy teams face one another, the pace changes- there are body checks.
Cassandra Repstock-Romme (top), 16, of Gentofte and Julie Henriksen, 16, of Herlev play airplane between warm up and ice time at the U18 Women's practice, Saturday, Sept. 23.
"I like practicing with the boys, it's faster and more physical," Mille Sørensen said.
Mille Sørensen started playing hockey because her school offered an after-class program that would take the girls by bus to the Silkeborg rink. Now, the bus program doesn't exist because there wasn't enough interest. Instead, Mille rides her bike to practice everyday.
The U18 National Women's team matches Norway in December 2017 and travels to Krynica, Poland to play in the World Cup 6-12 January 2018.