Playing college hockey is considered a privilege, but playing for your home country is an honor. Nicoline Jensen, a freshman women’s ice hockey player gets to experience it all.
She lives the typical student athlete life of balancing homework and sports, while also having to travel back to Europe to play for her home country.
“It’s an amazing feeling to represent a national team,” she said. “But it’s also amazing to play in college and get an education. I couldn’t do it back home. I had to pick one.”
Having to go home and compete takes a toll on Jensen. She says the time difference is tough mentally and the hardest thing is balancing her schoolwork and all of her competitions.
“Most teachers think it’s cool that I leave for a national team,” she said.
Though she likes playing there, she said playing hockey here is very different. There are only about 300 girls who compete in the Danish league, but there are so many more girls in America who compete at a higher level.
Without a doubt, the highest level of competition she sees is internationally playing for the Rodovre Mighty Bulls in Denmark. They compete for world championships and even played for a chance at the Olympics this
Competing at such an elite level, it was no doubt that Jensen was named the North Atlantic Conference’s
Rookie of the Year this past season.
Castleton Women’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Bill Bowes is proud that other coaches see her talent and understand her ability to see the ice. He loves that she dedicates a lot of time to hockey and doesn’t take this opportunity to play for granted. Coach Bowes describes her as a “skilled playmaker,” who shoots well and always works hard.
“Her work ethic is very good and I think that in the next three years, she’ll get better and better,”
Jensen isn’t the only player from Europe on the roster. Anna Daniels from Falun, Sweden is also a freshman. He not only likes coaching Jensen, but he loves that many of his players are international students.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for the players to meet and befriend people from different
places,” he said.
Though Jensen had plenty of other schools that wanted her, it was no accident that Jensen chose Castleton. She attended a summer hockey camp in Sweden and was scouted by Bowes’ friend, who thought he would be a good coach for her and Castleton, a good fit. She worked with an advisor for the college process, visited the school and just liked the small school atmosphere.
Jensen started playing hockey at the age of ten. Though she comes from a soccer family, her cousin told her to try hockey. She originally thought it was too manly, but when she finally tried it, she fell in love with the game and has worked at it ever since.
When she really wants to get motivated, she thinks back to her best hockey moment. It was a tied game against Italy and her first world championship at the age of 16. Jensen had the last shot in the shootout and all the pressure was on, but she missed.
“It motivated me to keep going,” she said. “It made me realize to work harder.”
Not one of her Castleton teammates would disagree that Jensen is a hard worker.
“Anyone she plays with, she makes them look like a superstar because she’s so good,” said Jenna Duggan, a sophomore on the Castleton squad. “She knows where to put the puck.” Jensen loves being with her teammates too, especially in the locker room, where they apparently get really loud. She said they have made her adapting to college and the United States so much easier.
Duggan, along with the rest of the team, has become close with Jensen and loves hanging out with her.
“My first impression of her was that she was shy and wouldn’t talk,” Duggan said, “But I was totally wrong.”
Sam Pion, a fellow freshman, agrees. She said Jensen is really funny and keeps the team laughing.
“Conversations with her always end in smiles,” Pion said.