What does Nina Kristoff want on her 18th birthday on August 17th? Actually there was only one seat reserved for him in the plane. Head to Calgary, where the World Championships begin three days after their cradle festivities. The group opponents of the German national team are Japan, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Hungary. Immediate preparations for the title fights in the Canadian province of Alberta will begin in early August.
Due to the pandemic, Hamelberger almost secretly moved from the junior division to the women’s team. The current course on the federal grounds in Füssen, where the 17-year-old is the youngest player since Svenja Voigt (born 2004), runs until 17 July. In any case, he feels that he is in good hands. “They are all very nice. Captain Julia Zorn especially takes care of young children.” Twelve units await 25 players and three goalkeepers on the ice, a comparison with EV Füssen’s U20 and ESV Kaufbeuren’s U20, as well as a team building day. “A bike trip is planned. And later our equipment manager, Siggy, will have a barbecue”, Nina Kristoff hoping for some rest.
Panchak has to stay at home
Because head coach Thomas Schadler can only take 20 players to Canada with him, Nina Kristoff wants to make the best possible impression on and off the ice, even if the level is much higher than juniors. “My goal is the World Cup. And if possible, I want to be part of the national team at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Everyone would be disappointed if they weren’t there,” confirmed the Lower Franconia striker, who In – in Rochester in upstate New York since 2016 – attended high school, graduating there the next year.
Thanks to the scholarship, the 17-year-old has already been accepted to college in Albany. And with it came the opportunity to continue playing ice hockey at a higher level. “Women’s ice hockey is promoted better in North America than in Germany, on top of that there are significantly more ice rinks,” says Christoph, who played for ERV Schweinfurt as a youth.
In mid-June, Nina Kristoff came to her family in their home in Lower Franconia with all the ice hockey equipment. To stay fit, sometimes for mountain runs in the vineyards around Hammelburg, sometimes on the playground or in the swimming pool. “But hiking is also allowed to stabilize joints,” says Nina Kristoff, who works with a personal trainer in the USA and was recently named Hammelberg Sportswoman of the Year 2021. “It really shocked me. Whatever the case, I was overjoyed by the recognition.” In addition, the student has taken holiday work at the supermarket. “My bosses are really nice. And sometimes I recognize my former teachers. Sometimes people contact me who know me from their local newspaper.”
Nina Kristoff is a fine mix of ambition, conviction and slack, who doesn’t want to put herself under too much pressure when it comes to starting the World Cup. “In American sport they say: Pressure is a privilege. And that’s what I live for. As long as I can climb the ice, I’m happy. It’s good to be here.”
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