13 March 2021
Today we were expecting to be at the opening game of the Women’s Hockey League Grand Final. Sadly, that will have to wait until our opponent gets a clean bill of health and our fans need to find an alternative distraction. For all that hockey is an all-consuming passion, most of us – supporters, team staff and even our players – find time for something else to help recharge the batteries and freshen our outlook on the game.
And our Lady Dragons are no exception. For all the time spent on the ice, practicing and competing, not to mention the hours of off-ice training to stay in peak physical condition, there is always time to devote to something extra. Maybe it’s a way to pass the time on some of our long journeys around Russia, or maybe it’s just nice to have something to come home to. Either way, while we wait for the final to get started, we decided to catch up with some of our players and find out how they like to pass the time away from the rink. The series runs in three parts – just as we hope we can win the WHL final series in three games. And, to keep us in line with the game schedule, we’ll publish each story according to the original schedule for the games against Agidel – that is today, tomorrow and Wednesday.
And so, our first hockey substitute is Minnamari Tuominen. The Finn is in her first season with the Vanke Rays, but her career has already brought her two Olympic bronzes and four World Championship medals as a key part of Finland’s defense.
But what about hobbies? It turns out that recently Minttu started something new.
“In Finland, we learn to knit at school!” she said. “Over the summer, I started knitting again because I had so much time on my hands, just hanging out by myself in my apartment. Then, come the fall, I figured it would be a great pastime here as well. I was enjoying it more and more, and finished my first big project – a sweater for my five-year-old god-daughter.”
Tight-knit teamwork is a big thing on the ice – and it turns out to be just as important when swapping sticks for needles. “At one point I ran out of wool and I don’t know what I’d have done if it wasn’t for Alena Mills. She found an online store where I could order up exactly the same Finnish brand that I bought back home, so I could keep going.”
With support like that, maybe Minttu’s trademark knits will soon be gracing the wardrobes not just of her family, but also her friends and acquaintances – and perhaps with a Chinese accent from her time with the Dragons?