Grace Lee ’19, a Shattuck-St. Mary’s student, will be partaking in the Olympics as a member of the South Korean Hockey team this upcoming January in Pyeongchang, Korea.
The Denver, Colorado native, has earned a spot on the South Korean National hockey team. As one of only three other import players she will had some major adjustments to make moving from the small town of Faribault, Minnesota where she went to school and played hockey for nine months of the year, to moving halfway across the world, not to go to school but to live with players she has never met before for a year and prepare for the Olympics.
“It’s hard to adjust to a new team at first but the team really took me under their wing and helped me through everything,” Lee said.
This opportunity for Lee came from actually playing against Korea last March, when, she says, “I was approached by the coach when they were at Shattuck and through conversations, lots of meetings, decisions, and a three month long process the organization offered me a spot.” The Head Coach, Sarah Murray ’06 and Goal tending coach, Becca Ruegsegger ’09 are both Shattuck St.Mary’s alumni and former members of the Girls Hockey Center of Excellence.
This favorable moment would not come without at least a few compromises as she had to take a gap year from Shattuck and would leave behind some of her closest friends. The future was bright, as even her college coach from Yale was fully on board with such an amazing opportunity.
They traveled to the Olympic venue to play exhibition games against the National Sweden team and although fell in three goal deficits both games, Lee was pleased with their efforts as she says, “it was a huge improvement on our part considering Sweden in among the top five ranked national teams in the world.”
The team later travelled to France to play both France and Switzerland and ended up falling in both games after a hard-fought overtime loss.
When Lee was asked about what she was looking forward to the most in participating the Olympics she responded with a smile and said, “the words speak for itself.” She paused and then said, “I am participating in the Olympics, which is mine and every kid’s dream growing up, to play in the Olympics and represent their country.”
Lee is excited to, in nine months’ time, play in front of her family that will be flying to watch her play at the Olympics in “a dream come true.” Lee also plans to take one game at a time and celebrate the little achievements, which will hopefully bring them greater ones when the puck drops and the games begin.