Amalie Andersen said it hasn’t really sunk in yet.
The University of Maine women’s ice hockey winger just returned from Germany where she and her teammates became the first Danish team to ever qualify for the Winter Olympic Games last week.
They will be held in Beijing in February.
Denmark beat Italy 4-0 and Austria 1-0 and then lost to host and favorite Germany 3-2 in a shootout. Germany had lost to Austria so, based on goal differential, the Germans were going to have to beat Denmark by at least five goals to earn the berth.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than this,” said Andersen, a defenseman for the Danes. “It all came down to who wanted it more and we really came together as a team.”
The 22-year-old didn’t register any points but felt she played well.
She said her time at UMaine has been beneficial, especially since they have moved her up to a wing.
“That has helped my offense and I’m hoping to bring more offense to my game as a defenseman in the Olympics,” said Andersen, who was set to return to the ice for the Black Bears’ Friday game against Boston University and Sunday’s 2 p.m. matinee versus Providence.
Andersen won’t be the only UMaine women’s ice hockey player in the Olympics.
The Czech Republic also qualified last week and former Black Bear Vendula Pribylova played for the Czechs, who went 3-0 in their group including an Olympic berth-clinching 5-1 win over Hungary in the Czech Republic.
Current UMaine freshman forward Mira Sergeley played for Hungary.
Tereza Vanisova, UMaine’s all-time scoring leader, also plays for the Czechs but UMaine head coach Richard Reichenbach said Vanisova couldn’t play for the team because she was suspended by her Swedish league for a checking-from-behind penalty.
Suspensions carry over to international play.
Vanisova, who played for the Isobel Cup-winning Boston Pride in the National Women’s Hockey League last season, is expected to play in the Olympics for the Czech Republic.
Reichenbach also said sophomore forward Rahel Enzler could wind up on the Olympic roster for Switzerland, which already qualified.
Switzerland will be in Group A with the United States, Canada, Finland and the Russian Olympic Committee. The Danes and Czechs will be in Group B with Sweden, Japan and China.
After round robin play, the teams in Group A and the top three teams in Group B will move on to the quarterfinals.
It will be held from Feb. 3 to Feb. 17.
Andersen said she and her Danish teammates aren’t going there to “just smile” and have a good time.
“We want to win,” Andersen said.
Her older brother, Frederik Andersen, is the goalie for the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes and is currently 10-2 with a 1.71 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage. He has 405 regular season NHL games to his credit and the Danish men also became the first from their country to qualify for the Olympics last summer.
“He sent me a text message to congratulate me,” she said.