Story of the week
Retirement Announcement from Florence Schelling
Dear Hockey, After 25 years of playing hockey, it is now time for me to retire from this incredible sport and move on to a new chapter in my life.
When Florence Schelling announced her retirement last week at the age of 29, I wasn’t shocked. Saddened, yes—full disclosure, I named a stuffed husky after the woman, there’s an emotional attachment there—but not shocked. The lull after the Olympics usually comes with retirement announcements as players re-evaluate their lives and decide if they’re going to commit to another four-year Olympic cycle, and Schelling was one of the players who I’d thought might hang them up. It’s sad to see a player retire in the prime of her career, but the lifestyle of an elite women’s hockey player is a hard, time-consuming one and comes with very little financial compensation for the tremendous amount of work. However, she certainly left quite a legacy.
As her own retirement post states, Schelling has played hockey for 25 years, and was first recruited by the senior national team at thirteen (thirteen!). She’s appeared in ten top-level World Championships and four straight Olympics, highlighted by winning two bronze medals (one at Worlds in 2012, one at the Sochi Olympics) and Tournament MVP with Switzerland in Sochi. She retired with a record-setting ten Olympic wins and five Olympic shutouts after her performance in Pyeongchang. Wherever she’s played—the NCAA, the CWHL, the SDHL, international hockey—she has impressed. Even though the Hockey Hall of Fame has a several-decades-long backlog of women waiting to be inducted, Schelling is first-ballot caliber. Watching her in Korea, it was obvious that she was as sharp as ever, and a major contributor to Switzerland managing a fifth-place finish.
When I read through Schelling’s retirement announcement, I was struck by this line:
The coach of the senior national team called and wanted me to go to a camp. I was 13 at that time. I didn’t know that there is a women’s national team in Switzerland, so I first thought it was a joke.
A lot has changed since that phone call. Florence Schelling’s brilliance has brought Switzerland international notice, and set the stage for the next generation of Swiss women’s players. As sad as we are to see her go, she can retire from hockey with two bronze medals and the confidence that hockey-playing girls in Switzerland know all about the women’s national team.
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