Friday, February 12, 2010

Eagle River Native Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej to compete on the Women's US Olympic Hockey Team in Vancouver!

Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver!
Her Blog

From an NBC athlete interview (click here for full report):

First timer
Jinelle Zaugg-Siergeij (pronounced ZAWG-SUHR-gay) is making her Olympic debut in Vancouver. She played in the 2007 World Championships for the U.S. team, earning a silver medal. She was on and off the national team until 2009, when she was named to the U.S. Olympic team. Zaugg-Siergiej played four seasons at Wisconsin, winning two NCAA titles, and graduated in 2008.

Goal driven
At Wisconsin, where she was still Jinelle Zaugg, she finished her career as the school's all-time leader in goals (89), power-play goals (29) and game-winning goals (22). Her most memorable game-winner came junior year, in 2007, during quadruple overtime in the NCAA quarterfinal game against Harvard. The goal sent the Badgers to the Frozen Four on the way to their second consecutive NCAA title. That season, Zaugg led the team in goals with 29, and had 50 points, for her most productive college season.

Busy summer
Zaugg married Mike Siergiej in June 2009, just days before she flew to Colorado Springs for a U.S. team training camp. She had initially not planned to go, but when she got the invitation, Mike encouraged her to take it. They postponed their honeymoon until after the camp. And Mike, a who played junior hockey after high school, spent the summer helping her train for the national team tryout in August. Though Jinelle now lives in Blaine with the team, she and Mike are based in Milwaukee, where Mike is in school earning his nursing degree.

One of the guys
Growing up in the small town of Eagle River, Zaugg was one of few girls who played hockey. She started at age 8, after the family moved from Rockford, Ill. She had learned to skated in Rockford, on a backyard pond that her dad set up every winter. But the family discovered hockey in Wisconsin. "My brother needed an extra player on his team," she said, "so my parents laced me up." She continued to play with the boys through high school, and was eventually dubbed "Eagle River's hockey daughter." Zaugg even met her husband, Mike, on that high school team. "The guys were very supportive and I still go home and skate with them," she said.

Future plans
Zaugg-Siergiej graduated from Wisconsin with a degree in rural sociology. She wants to have a small farm someday, and also wants to be a hockey coach at the high school level. As for her future as a player, Zaugg-Siergiej says she's not sure. "My first response is that I will retire because I want to move on with my other passions," she said. "But you never know."

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