Ice hockey Blue joins world's elite
Profession: hockey player. Finally profession, it's a big word. Ice hockey is not in terms of the most exposed notoriety of women's team sports, far from it. And they are not legion, ice warriors to swell their wallets through their career. Even in the flagship countries of the discipline, the United States, Canada or Russia. So in France, do not talk about it.
It is thus in almost total anonymity that the Blues have qualified for the first time in their history for the elite World Championship that begins this Thursday, April 4 in Finland. (read box). Frustrating, when you know the chaotic path that requires excellence in the field. But what drives these young ladies to try such a race of obstacles?
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The question amuses Lara Escudero, 25, attacking Blue. Because it took him, determination, to convince his mother of his desire, kid, to take the stick. "My sister was doing synchronized skating in Valenciennes but I, it's hockey that attracted me, from the age of 9, She says. Except that my mother considered this sport too masculine, too dangerous. I took four years to convince her to let me give it a try, synonymous with love at first sight. "
A family affair or fierce will
For others, the story is mostly family. At the Allemoz, Chambéry, Marion, now captain of blue at 29, follows the footsteps of his four brothers and sisters, all hockey players. "Since then, they have let go, me not," She smiled. At the Aurard in Villard-de-Lans (Isère), same common passion. The parents play, the big brother too, so the twin sisters, Anaïs and Chloe, slide together. "Young people, in clubs, we play necessarily with boys, explains Chloe, 20, the only Blue to evolve in the United States. Suddenly, one forges a character. Moreover, at school, the girlfriends found me and my sister a bit aggressive. We were the "hockey players", those who in sports lessons wanted to win everything. "
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"It is sure that this choice always arouses a lot of curiosity", says the guard tricolor Caroline Baldin, 26 years old, passed 12 years of the rink hockey (on roller skating), that practiced her brother, with the ice cream. "But in Grenoble, where I lived, hockey is the king's sport. The choice is not so exceptional, even for girls. " Persevere is less obvious. Mixed, interesting a time when the girls compensate by their technique their physical deficit, shows its limits to 16, 17 years, the speed of boys causing too great differences. In the absence of sufficient female teams, there are many who rank the skates.
For the best, the royal road is the pole France, opened in 2008 in Chambéry. Almost all the Blues have been there. "For the most part, we've known each other for over ten years, says Caroline Baldin. We are a big family, and it's not a cliché. We feel like coming back home when we are in France team, now that we are all scattered. "
Under the skates, precariousness
Because it is another characteristic of hockey players: the quasi-obligation to go into exile. With the need to reconcile studies, then active life and sports career. "It's always difficult," explains Marion Allemoz, a six-year-old in Canada, where she obtained a degree in criminology before returning to Europe to a Swedish club. "I have a small contract, but that does not make it possible to live on it. I did odd jobs before going back to training to become a coach. "
Chloé Aurard flew to the United States at the age of 15, with her sister. A heavy investment for parents. Today a stock exchange student on the Boston University team, she is doing well by working at the rink of her school, with the long-term hope of joining the professional championship across the Atlantic.
Caroline Baldin is one of the few who has been on a contract for two years in Zurich. "I live correctly. Previously, I was for two years VRP for a youth publishing house, but it was not reconcilable. During the studies, we can still organize, but beyond that, they are improbable balances. " In fact, many hockey players do not pass this decisive course and fold the butts to 23, 24 years. "For a few years, I have been working hard to find the best context to avoid this precariousness at high level, assures Grégory Tarlé, coach of the Blue. This generation is exceptional and can dream of an Olympic qualification in 2022. But it will be necessary to turn the page one day. Beyond passion, the challenge is to find ways to develop hockey. I really believe in the momentum around women's sport. It's up to us to find solutions. "
A quarterfinal or relegation
This is the goal of the Blue on this World: to stay in the elite group. But the challenge is daunting. For this edition enlarged to 10 teams (against 8 previously), the International Federation has set up a double descent: the last two in the ranking of the pool of France, which has five teams, will be relegated to lower division the year next. Simple calculation: a quarter-final qualification is required. The Blues will really have to do a lot of performance against Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic and Japan.
(tagsToTranslate) Ice Hockey (t) Sports (t) Join World (t) Blue (t) Hockey (t) Elite