Emerging as one of the elite forwards on the Finnish national team, Michelle Karvinen is having an impact at the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds. Born in Denmark, she had the opportunity to compete for the Finnish squad due to her family bloodlines.
“My father is Finnish. When I was 12, a Finnish coach invited me to the Under-20s. I lived in Finland for two years (due to IIHF eligibility) and it has been history ever since.”
During Finland’s first game of the 2013 Women’s Worlds (a victory over Switzerland), Karvinen was recognized as the Player of the Game for her squad. “It’s always great. It is nice when people think that you played good. Winning is most important.”
The second game of the tournament involved a contest against the United States. Karvinen found playing against two of her former teammates from the University of North Dakota, Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux.
When asked if she was able to keep her emotions in check, she replied, “Definitely. I think that when they and I are out there, it is a competition. You do all that you can to win. We give it all we have. I think it is fun to play them.”
While the Lamoureux sisters are rivals at the IIHF Women’s Worlds, Karvinen acknowledges their contributions towards improving her play at the NCAA level. “Yes, definitely. They are two world class players and push yourself to work even harder. They have done so much to help me, and in a lot of ways, to get used to playing at a level like this.”
Of note, Karvinen is one of several Europeans that compete with the Fighting Sioux. Other Europeans include Johanna Fallman (Sweden), Andrea Dalen (Norway), Tanja Eisenschmid (Germany), Jorid Daginfrud (Norway) and Josefine Jakobsen (Denmark).
To see the growing number of European players in the NCAA is a great point of pride for her, “I think it is great. There should be more Europeans in the NCAA. It doesn’t just help different clubs, but helps hockey at different levels.”
The assistant coach for North Dakota is also a former head coach of the Swedish national team, Peter Elander. Having a European on the coaching staff has been essential in making the adjustment to a new country. “Definitely. We are all far away from home. Having an adult there helps. We have a little different culture and we feel that someone from Europe understands.”
During the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds, she has played on a line with Karoliina Rantamaki, a 35-year old legend with the Finnish national team. “Playing with her on a line has been so much fun. She is super quick, highly skilled, and goal hungry. Growing up, I saw her play in the Olympics. She is a good role model for our team and our younger players. It is good having someone with so much experience.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”