Coaching the Next Gen

I'm super excited to be named as coach for the Central Region Junior Women at the 2016 New Zealand Inter Regional Championship in October. We had an excellent try-out session in New Plymouth and I just wanted to thank all the players and their parents for coming out in such great numbers. Huge well done to everyone who tried out and congratulations to those who made the team. I'm looking forward to coaching you!

2016 Central Region All Stars
Samara Campton
Madison Fox
Jessica Kingi
Jana Kivell
Tessa Klapka-Innes
Katie Lovell
Jamie Mudford
Jorja Rosser
Danelle Sadler
Mimi Sadro
Temyia Taiaroa
Kate Thomson
Alesha Williams
Rebekah Wilson

Coach: Anj Thakker
Assistant: Jason Rosser
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Swedish Champions!

So we're back in Sweden to finish off the season and it couldn't have gone better! We just won the Swedish Championship with Köping Inline at SM-veckan 2016 in Norrköping! I've had an amazing time here joining forces with my old Ice Fernz coach Ulf Hall as head coach of our inline team. SM-veckan (Eng. Swedish Championship Week) is a great event with loads of different sports and thousands of athletes gathering in one city for a week to battle for the Swedish Championship in their sport. Inline hockey has been part of the line-up for years, but this is the first year when the women's inline hockey championship will be decided at the big event. I've joined Köping Inline for the finals with a great mix of players with some girls I know from Team Sweden as well. We went unbeaten in the finals and clinched the championship in the final against the girls from Wermland by a score of 8-4! Thank you everyone at Köping Inline for having me on your team!
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Dream Team Leader

The purpose of The Sir Peter Blake Trust Dream Team is to inspire young New Zealanders to #believeyoucan. After visiting two schools yesterday I can confidently say that the kids are not the only ones being inspired. I love sharing my story and encouraging kids to dream big but hearing their dreams and goals are what I love most about the sessions. These kids were so genuine and inspirational - I truly hope they go on to achieve their goals. Thank you to Rangitoto School and Pukenui School for having me!
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School visits as Duffy Role Model

I've had the privilege to spend the last two days on the road visiting schools in and around Waikato as a Duffy Role Model. I had such a great time with the kids and can't wait to do it again next week.

Hockey has given me so much and taken me around the world over the years and it is important to recognise that not all kids grow up in the same nurturing and inspiring culture as I did but nonetheless every kid has the opportunity to achieve great things if they apply themselves and drive for success. We need to support every child in their life journeys and that's why I think the Duffy Books in Homes programme is so great and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Here's a Waikato Times article about my Duffy Books tour in schools - have a read!

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Worlds: Heading home with a new watch!

That's it - the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship Division 2 Group B games have all been played. Congratulations to my friends in Team Australia for winning the gold and we also reached our objective of retaining our place in this division. We played hard with a team full of rookies and I must say I am impressed with the maturity and professionalism that our young team showed on and off the ice. I wish I could say I had the strength, vision and skills that these girls have when I skated out for my first Ice Fernz tournament. It has been an absolute honour and privilege to skate with this team and life-long friendships that I value greatly have been formed.

Today's game was tough as the Mexican team is skilled, fast and structured. We played our game but we were just that little bit slower than the Mexican girls and it is only fair to say we were not in a position to challenge for the win. At the final whistle the Mexicans had beat us by a score of 5-2 and we finished in fifth place between Mexico and Turkey in the table.

At the end of the game I was awarded the Best Player Award for Team New Zealand for the whole tournament. I received an amazing Tissot watch that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I cannot put into words the honour and pride that I feel right now. All said and done, I scored in every game and finished second in goals and points behind my good friend Alivia Del Basso of Australia who was on fire through the whole tournament. We reached our objective as a team and secured our place in this division for next year so we can all go home with our heads held high after a job well done.

I've received a lot of encouraging messages throughout the tournament and we've had a great Ice Fernz supporter crowd at our games. I am absolutely humbled and eternally thankful for all your support. It really means the world to me and I can't thank you enough.

Now all that's left is to pack up and head home to start my post-graduate studies at the University of Auckland. I'll have two weeks off from hockey to rest and recover before heading to the inline hockey national team camp on 18 March. Can't wait!

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Worlds: We're safe!

What a great day! We beat Turkey through incredible hard work, determination and team play and to crown the day, I scored my first ever IIHF World Championship hat-trick!

The stakes couldn't have been higher as both teams knew that a loss would mean relegation to the qualification round for next year's world championships. All the girls knew that today was the day that counted the most and we prepared both mentally and physically to go out and win and win we did!

It wasn't an easy game by any stretch and it was clear that both teams went all out. There were a couple of instances where game had to be stopped and medics brought onto the ice, one of the Turkish girls had to be stretchered off as well and we all hope she's doing well. Everyone on the ice gave their all and skated to their absolute limits. I think we just about had the edge for every one-on-one battle and we were just that little bit faster and more structured than the Turks, which made all the difference. At the final whistle the score was 7-4 for the Ice Fernz and we had secured our place at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship Division 2 Group B. We had reached our tournament objective with one game to go.

The tournament finishes tomorrow and our last game is against Mexico. The pressure to stay in this division is gone and we're skating against Mexico full of optimism, determination and full of winning mentality from today's game. Bring it on!

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