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Burlington field hockey goalie gets win for Canada on European turf

The team spent nearly two weeks in Wales and Scotland, playing five games against national sides.
Ella Ciesielski and the U18 team took home a win against Wales.

When Ella Ciesielski stepped foot on a field hockey pitch for the first time at Burlington Central High School, she decided it was time to ditch her rep soccer career and put on a set of goalie pads. 

Now, as a goalie for the U18 Women’s Youth National Team, she has just returned from Scotland and Wales after taking a victory over a much more experienced side. 

“Teams in Europe are crazy, they’re on another level,” Ciesielski said. “Field hockey is huge over there, so they have incredible facilities and great training. We were amazed we could beat them.”

The team landed in London on March 21, before travelling around Scotland and Wales, playing a total of five games and coming out with one victory. 

Canada brought two goalies, with the pair swapping spots at half time for each game. 

“We just did rock paper scissors to see who would start the game, since we both like playing in the second half,” Ciesielski said. “We both like running up at the end to celebrate with everyone at the end of the game.”

Canada lost two games against Scotland, tied the first against Wales, won the second, and lost the third for a full record of 4-1 on the tour. 

In total, 20 players and four coaches made the trip across the pond to support the team. Many of the players had never met one another before the tour, and will be facing each other in an upcoming national tournament in B.C.

Despite being teammates for the moment, and expected opponents in the coming weeks, trash talk was kept to a minimum while in Europe, Ciesielski said. 

“Every day was a highlight for me, it was so much fun,” she said. “We spent a lot of time as a team just visiting the cities, getting to know one another. We were so happy after our win, had a great dinner as a team, there wasn’t one person without a smile on their face.”

As goalie, Ciesielski trains differently from players moving up and down the field. To best prepare for these international tests, she began weight training for the first time. 

In her time playing goalie for Halton Field Hockey, she was accustomed to team workouts and had to adapt to being on her own. 

“It was awkward at the beginning going into a gym on my own to one area with all my weights,” Ciesielski said. 

She prepared herself for the travel and time difference by going to sleep at 5 p.m. and waking up at 4 a.m. 

Ciesielski added she is taking a year off of school to help coach the Burlington Central field hockey team, and wants to continue to play at the collegiate level either in Canada or the U.S.

“I also want to play for the official team Canada, not just the U18 team,” she said. “I don’t know what is in store for me, but I hope it’s that.”

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Chris Arnold

About the Author: Chris Arnold

Chris Arnold has worked as a journalist for half a decade, covering national news, entertainment, arts, education, and local features
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