Red Deer hockey player travels the world for professional hockey

“We were on the ice everyday or practicing every day and two games on the weekend, which doesn’t really happen in some of the other European leagues and some leagues here in North America. The style of hockey was a little different, just more European and more skill-oriented and a little more fluid. I found compared to university and North America where it’s a lot more structured and where everyone is working on systems and stuff like that. It was a little different, but honestly I found it a lot more fun to play this style of hockey.

Thiessen has played roughly a full season in Sweden, scoring one goal and nine assists in 32 games, even with the pandemic. But she and her Canadian teammates had to cut their season short after the Canadian government wanted people to pay for a $ 2,000 hotel quarantine.

“I think we missed a game or two; we didn’t want to leave the girls like that. But it didn’t really make sense to stay there and stay at the hotel and face that financial burden.

When it comes to money and professional women’s football, however, the finances just aren’t there. Thiessen had a place to live and was paid, but it’s not like she came home with a full savings account.

This season, she has decided to forgo Swedish meatballs and go for fortune cookies and will adapt for a Chinese team that plays in a Russian league.

“In a normal, non-COVID world, we would be based in Shenzhen, China and we would go to Russia every month or so for two weeks at a time to play games, and then we would have teams coming to see us in China. . But at the moment, we are strictly in Russia, in a suburb of Moscow. ”

This season is far from normal and not just because of COVID. It is also an Olympic year, which China welcomes. The coach of Thiessen professional team is also the coach of the China Women’s Olympic Hockey Team. And they brought in all the imports in August to complete last year’s final and for this year’s preseason tournament.

“We had a few practices together and then we played the three-game final series last year. Unfortunately, we lost in a shootout in the third game. After that, we went to Soki and played in a preseason tournament, then the imports went home or went to different leagues, then we will meet again after the Olympics. ”

In the meantime, Thiessen works for an oil and gas company in Calgary, and she was also able to get acquainted with the Calgary team of PWHPA who are competing in the Secret Dream Gap Tour. They recently won the Nova Scotia event and will compete again in Toronto from December 18-19.

Once the Olympic medals have been awarded, Thiessen will board another plane to Moscow to relaunch his professional career. There is professional women’s hockey closer to home with six teams from the Professional Hockey Federation and the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association, which includes the Calgary team that Thiessen currently plays with. Many think it would make sense for the two to join forces and have a strong league that would pay players more than just a living allowance, but at the moment the two are at odds.

“I think both sides would be willing to sit down and have some serious conversations, because right now we are sharing resources in a way. We could have all this money from all these different sponsors for the league and the sponsors for us. And I think if we could put that together then that would make all the difference, but it sounds good when you say it like that, but who knows if it actually works like that.

Thiessen hopes the two can find a way to come together to form a league where women can make a decent living, which would give her a good reason to cash in those air miles and come home to play closer to her. family and friends.

Catherine J. Martinez