Jacqueline Thode skids on ice without any uncertainties.
With the aggression of a man but elegance of a woman, she leads her hockey stick around the rink.
Although she came to Vienna nearly four years ago to play defense for Vienna’s professional ice hockey team, the Wiener Eislöwen, in her spare time, she is pursuing a video production certificate at Webster Vienna. She taps into the same source of determination at everything she does. She’s already the holder of two degrees – in Business Administration and English – in Vermont.
“My first skating lesson was at the age of two,” said the Colorado native, who remembers participating at classes with her older brother. She loved the rink as a kid. The smell, the texture, the character of the building and everything in it brought her great joy.
“I then started playing hockey at the age of four,” she said. “It was my favorite playground, a place very special to me.”
Thode trains twice a week on ice and one to five times in the gym. At the same time, a healthy portion of protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients are essential for keeping herself fit.
“To be in hockey shape you need to skate and play hockey. In combination with the athleticism required, it is a smart game,” said Thode.
During the high season, in winter, she plays two matches a week, requiring her full-on commitment every single day.
Her team, the Wiener Eislöwen, plays in an international Elite Women’s Hockey League and the first Austrian league, so games are split between Vienna and abroad – Germany for one match, Russia for another and then on to Switzerland.
The young hockey player even has fans from Webster who come to cheer her on. Nadezda Pomyateeva, a Media major and a very close friend of Thode’s, has been watching her throughout the season. She says she is one of her newest fans but the most loyal one.
“I am her number one fan. I cheer for her no matter how her team plays, because I know she works hard and you can see that she plays much better than others,” said Pomyateeva.
The student isn’t the only one who’s impressed. “Jacqueline Thode is our team’s best and most valuable player and is very well respected by all of her teammates,” said Ermin Germa Hasovis, her Bosnian coach.
Pomyateeva says that although Thode looks much smaller than other players, she’s faster than most of them. She puts all her passion in it and enjoys the game.
“I just want to cheer her on because she says it’s inspiring when there’s someone there for her,” Pomyateeva said.
In hockey, players need to be fast, strong, hard hitting, quick, agile, have endurance and balance. Her coach says she is all those things. Thode plays in defense and is also one of the two assistants of the captain.
“As any advanced person in any field, a player must apply and expound what they know to the situation, and creatively and deftly work to make the best of the situation,” she said.
A good relationship with her coach and her teammates is important to her. They are always there for each other and master the requirements of a team together. “My teammates and I are really good at keeping each other balanced and supporting each other when things get tough,” she said.
Her coach, too, values Thode as a team member.
“Jackie shows huge amount of competitiveness and she is willing to do anything for the team, often she puts it all on herself to do everything in order for her team to be successful,” he said.
She also believes that a good relationship with her coach is essential. If it works out with the boss, then the results at trainings and matches do as well. For Thode the best word to describe her relationship with her coach is: “reliable.”
“I am a hard dedicated worker who leads by doing. He can count on me to be an impact player in games. I am a leading person on and off the ice,” she said.
Although Thode does not know what she will be doing in the future, she decided to take a certificate in video production to improve her production skills. But other than that, her main focus is her sport.
“I’m a believer in hard work, dedication and mental resiliency,” she said. “Hockey is and will be one of my greatest loves.”