Tanja Eisenschmid a Building Block for Improving Germany

Mark Staffieri@@MarkStaff100Contributor IIApril 2, 2013

Image by Herman Ernst, Obtained from: http://www.all-in.de/_/tools/diaview.html?_CMTREE=15852&_CMELEM=0&_CMPICS=564117
Image by Herman Ernst, Obtained from: http://www.all-in.de/_/tools/diaview.html?_CMTREE=15852&_CMELEM=0&_CMPICS=564117

As one of the younger players on the German national team, Tanja Eisenschmid brings a great enthusiasm to an improving squad. Playing defense, she has helped to bolster the German blue line. Her debut with the senior team came at the 2011 IIHF World Championships (Division I), and she helped the Germans capture the gold medal.

From 2009 to 2011, she participated with the Under-18 German team in three IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds. “I was nominated to play at the first U18 Women’s Worlds in Calgary but I was too young. I had the opportunity to compete afterwards in Fussen, Germany, Chicago, USA and in Sweden.”

Of all the tournaments, the one that may have meant the most to her was the 2009 edition. It was held in Fussen, Germany and Eisenschmid was ecstatic to represent her homeland in front of friends and family.

“It was awesome. Fussen was a half hour away from home. To have family and friends there was just special. To hang out with your family and play hockey, it was the best of both worlds.”

With the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds being held in Ottawa, Canada, one of the German players is earning well-deserved attention. Having played university and professional women’s hockey in Ottawa for a period of six years, Sara Seiler is one of the players that Eisenschmid looks up to.

“Of course, I look up to her. She is older and much more experienced than me. She has been Canada for many years and I respect her. Seeing her in the advertisements (for the Women’s Worlds), I think it’s awesome.”

Having played the 2012-13 season with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux of the NCAA, the experience is one that Eisenschmid has enjoyed. “Playing there was incredible. I am just speechless and the coaching staff was awesome. The team is great and everyone welcomed me from the beginning. I could not ask for anything better.”

Like any player competing in a new country, there is an adjustment period. “For sure. The food is different that was the biggest part of adjusting to life in America. Everything else was fun and the people were very welcoming.”

One of the unique aspects of playing for North Dakota is the fact that the team has players from throughout Europe. The team also includes players from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. For Eisenschmid, the opportunity to participate with players from different countries is an enriching experience.

“There are teammates there that play for their national team. They are more experienced and there is an awesome player defense from Sweden (Johanna Fallman). It is better when you can play with people from different countries.”

While she will have to play against Fallman in Pool B of the 2013 Women’s Worlds, there is a mutual respect between the two. “She is still my teammate (at North Dakota). It will be different when I play against her, but in that game, she is not my teammate.”

Another pair of teammates at North Dakota made an impression on Eisenschmid. Also playing for the United States National Team, Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux were in their senior season for the Fighting Sioux.

“They made an impression and they are really good players. They are leaders and I learned from them. I got to compete on the Power Play unit with them. You learn to move the puck faster.”

Like many of her teammates at North Dakota, the Lamoureux sisters provided great inspiration and motivation. “They help everyone on the team and it is nice to have them on the team. They inspired me to work really hard and they motivated everyone. They made me want to work harder every day too.”

With the German squad having qualified for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Eisenschmid has a new source of motivation. “I am so excited! It is the best thing that could have ever happened. It is just awesome and it will be a big highlight for sure.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”