Yekaterina Smolentseva Provides Strong Leadership for Russian Hockey Team

Mark StaffieriContributor IIApril 3, 2013

Photograph by Daniil Masich, Source:, Obtained from:
Photograph by Daniil Masich, Source:, Obtained from:

With Russia hosting the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the women’s hockey team is hoping to finish on the medal podium. Heading into the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds, the squad will be counting on strong leadership from legendary player Yekaterina Smolentseva.

One of the living legends in international women’s hockey, Smolentseva has been a member of the Russian national team for over a decade. Proudly donning the Captain’s "C" on her sweater, Smolentseva takes her role very seriously.

“I think I am a leader. As the captain of the team, I have no choice but to be a leader. I believe the captain should support all the players on the team. During the game and outside the rink. It should be just like the captain on a men’s team.”

One of the highlights in her legendary career was winning the bronze medal at the 2001 IIHF Women’s World Championships in Minnesota. “That was a great moment in my career. I hope there will be more moments like that. I think the present team should be able to win a medal.”

With the Sochi Winter Games on the horizon, she is happy to see the women’s game growing in Russia. “Right now, girls are starting to play hockey. Everyone appreciates it.”

After many great years of service with the Russian squad, the opportunity to compete in Sochi will be a dream come true. “I am very excited for Sochi and I am very proud to play for my country. It will definitely be an honour and an exciting moment. I can’t even express it in words.”

On Sochi, Smolentseva continued, “Not every great sportsman gets to compete during a championship in their home country. It is a great honour and I think it is a gift. A true present to be able to compete for a championship for your country.”

The only aspect that would make the experience in Sochi a better one would be the opportunity to win a medal with the Russian team. “If I can get a medal at Sochi, it would be the highest point in my career. A great accomplishment to win a medal as a captain.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”