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Ketziah faces off in Lake Placid

Driffield ice hockey player Ketziah Robinson has told the Wolds Weekly she is oozing with confidence heading into the remainder of the season after describing the experience of representing Great Britain on a global stage as one of the best in her life.

The 19-year-old University of Hull student was part of the national squad that travelled to Lake Placid in the USA for the 2023 FISU World Winter University Games as one of six teams in the women’s ice hockey competition.

Ketziah was only able to take her place in the squad at the games after self-funding £3,000 in a matter of weeks, thanks to support from her family and friends.

The teenager had previously represented England on three occasions from the age of 12, however, this was the first time she had been part of Great Britain’s student squad.

After arriving in the USA and taking a couple of days to settle into their college campus base, Ketziah and her teammates hit the ice a day before the opening ceremony.

Facing some of the world’s best ice hockey nations, Ketziah and her Great Britain teammates were always up against it, and suffered some heavy defeats during the group stages, none more so than a 21-0 reverse against the host nation.

However, she said that it was a learning curve that took nothing away from her unbelievable experience in North America, despite some culinary disappointments in the team’s college digs.

“Score-wise, it wasn’t too good!” said Ketziah. “But the Games was a really good experience and probably one of the best things I have ever done.

“We landed in America on 8th January and we didn’t play until 11th January, which allowed us to settle into our new surroundings.

“We were based on the campus of one of the colleges. The accommodation wasn’t too good, but the ice rink was fantastic.

“The food we were served was pretty awful. We expected chicken that was cooked, but it was pink when it came.

“We took part in the opening ceremony on 12th January, which was brilliant, even though we arrived late to the stadium.

“The buses were running late but we got there in time for our entry to the stadium.

“The stadium was virtually full and it was a great feeling walking in, although really weird at first.

“The matches we played were very tough. The skill levels of every team we played against were so high compared to ours.

“You could see that the other teams had trained together more often than we had.

“It was good to play against players of such a high level and we only learned afterwards that Canada’s main goalkeeper played in the Winter Olympics, although they didn’t use her against us.

“It was amazing to be in the same place as not only some of the best student players in the world, but some of the best players in the world too.

“All the games were really tough. Even though the scoreline suggested the USA game was our hardest, the Japan and Canada matches were probably the most difficult.”

Before she left for the Games, Ketziah was given the news that she had been chosen as one of Great Britain’s alternate captains, which meant the former Driffield School & Sixth Form student would lead her team when the regular captain was away from the ice.

It was a role that initially came as a surprise to Ketziah, being one of the less experienced players in the squad.

Once the games had finished, the Great Britain team were able to spend time sightseeing around Lake Placid, a place that is remembered for the Miracle on Ice, when a USA team made up of students and amateurs defeated the Soviet professionals.

“It was an honour to be named as Great Britain’s alternate captain,” said Ketziah.

“It was something that I was half expecting but when we arrived in the USA, reality hit home that I had to lead the players when our regular captain was off the ice.

“I only found out just before we went to the games and I really enjoyed it. As one of the younger players in the squad, it was a bit of surprise, but I guess I must show good leadership qualities in training and around the camp.

“We had a break to have a look around Lake Placid, which was around an hour and a half away from where we were based.

“We walked around the village and it was good to see everything that remains from the 1980 Winter Olympics.

“We went to watch the men’s curling and then we got the chance to watch the women’s ice hockey bronze and gold medal matches and the men’s gold medal game.

“There was a great atmosphere at the matches we played in, which mainly came from the British supporters as the American and Canadian fans don’t tend to make much noise.

“My mum and dad came out to America and they enjoyed it and even went on some long walks with the locals!”

Ketziah’s attention now turns to the rest of the university hockey season, whilst she is already targeting the next FISU World Winter University Games, which are set to be held in Turin in two years’ time.

“The whole experience has given me a lot of confidence, which I will take into the rest of the season, whilst I also feel like I have made improvements as a player, certainly in terms of my speed across the ice,” said Ketziah.

“The target is now the 2025 Games, however, that will depend on whether Great Britain qualify and the squad selection.”

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