January 30, 2006

Bulldogs Add Another Olympian

Jan. 30, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - When defenseman Helen Resor '08 (Greenwich, Conn.) earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team last December, she made history as the first Yale women's hockey player to make an Olympic roster. It didn't take long for her to have company. Forward Denise Soesilo '10 (Hamburg, Germany), a member of the German Olympic Team, has committed to attend Yale next year and adds to the Bulldog presence in Torino. Soesilo and Resor's teams will square off on the second day of the tournament, which starts Feb. 10 and will be televised on the NBC family of television stations.

Soesilo's spot on the Olympic team was finalized on January 7, following Germany's 6-4 win over Canada at the Air Canada Cup in Ravensburg, Germany. The German team had started with a group of 30 players last July, eventually paring it down to the final 20 for the Olympics.

"It was a matter of keeping my level of play up in order to stay on the team, and subsequently making the Olympic Team," Soesilo said.

Soesilo played her first game with the German National Team in March 2002 at the age of 14. Since then, she has played in both the 2004 and 2005 IIHF Women's World Championships along with the Four Nations Tournament (October 2005) and the Air Canada Cup.

"I started playing hockey in 1993 with the local club team, Hamburg Crocodiles, after my neighbor asked me to come out and skate with him," Soesilo said. "When I started I didn't know what hockey was or how it was even played. I grew up playing with boys my age and older than me."

At the age of 12 Soesilo made the U20 Girls State Selects team. She also was the first female player ever to make the U15 selects team and play in the German national tournament, earning MVP honors. In 2003 she was part of a silver-medal effort at Women's Nationals, leading her team in points with 5 goals and 1 assist in 7 games.

In 2003-04 Soesilo decided to do an exchange year in Canada. She eventually wound up playing for the renowned Oval X-Treme in Calgary, a team that included several Canadian Olympians. She won the 2005 WWHL Championship with the X-Treme.

"Someone I knew who had trained at the Oval suggested I go to Calgary because of the excellent training opportunities at the Oval," Soesilo said. "Training with the silver [development] group at the Oval, X-Treme head coach Tomas Pacina scouted me and asked me at the end of the season to stay in Calgary and play for his team. I thankfully accepted even though I had not planned to do this at all."

In the spring of 2005 the Oval X-Treme took on the U.S. Selects, a team that included several U.S. Olympians, in the "Battle of the Border." The Canadians swept the six-game series.

Soesilo, who was president of her high school in 10th grade, is a violinist with the Mendelssohn Youth Symphony Orchestra Hamburg and plays chamber music. She graduated from Queen Elizabeth High School in Calgary last year and has spent the past year training for the Olympics.

"I chose Yale for its diverse student body, the great music scene, and beautiful campus," Soesilo said. "And, of course, the hockey team's amazing potential and coaching. Yale was the one place where I could actually see myself spending four years of my life."

Follow Yale Women's Hockey at the Olympics:

Saturday, February 11 - Day 1
Finland vs. Germany (Denise Soesilo '10), 7am-9:30am, CNBC
USA (Helen Resor '08) vs. Switzerland, Noon-2:30pm, USA

Sunday, February 12 - Day 2
USA (Helen Resor '08) vs. Germany (Denise Soesilo '10), 1 pm-3:30pm, USA

Tuesday, February 14 - Day 4
Switzerland vs. Germany (Denise Soesilo '10), Noon-2:30pm, MSNBC
USA (Helen Resor '08) vs. Finland, 2:30 pm-5pm, USA

Friday, February 17 - Day 7
USA women's semifinal (Helen Resor '08), 11am-1:30pm, USA
Women's semifinal, 3pm-5:30pm, MSNBC

Monday, February 20 - Day 10
Women's bronze medal game, 10:30am-1pm, MSNBC
Women's gold medal final, 2:30pm-5pm, NBC

All times EST. Schedule subject to change.

report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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