Natalie Babony ’06 Starts Play in Olympics Saturday

Natalie Babony. (photo by David Silverman, dspics.com)

Forward Part of Slovakian Olympic Team

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Former Yale women's ice hockey player Natalie Babony '06 (Whitby, Ont./Holderness School/Telus Lightning) and Team Slovakia start play in the Olympics this Saturday with a game against Canada at 5 p.m. Vancouver time (8 p.m. Eastern time). The game can be seen on CNBC in the United States. Team Slovakia plays two more games after that before the start of the classification and semifinal rounds. Babony is the third player in the history of Yale women's hockey to make an Olympic team roster.

Babony found out about her selection this past January. A native of Whitby, Ont., she is a dual citizen of Canada and Slovakia. Her parents (Anton and Olinka) were born in Slovakia, but she, along with her sister, Andrea, and brother, Mark, were born in Toronto. Her parents moved to Canada in their early 20's, leaving behind their families.

Babony played for Yale from 2002-2005, totaling 21 goals and 31 assists in 90 career games. She led the team with 12 goals and 29 points in 2002-03, and in 2004-05 she was part of a squad that set the school record for wins (16) and made Yale's first ECAC semifinal appearance. Prior to Yale, she played for the Telus Lightning and attended Holderness School.

The eight women's hockey teams in the Olympics are divided up into two groups, A and B, based on seeding. Slovakia is the No. 8 seed and is in the same group as No. 1 Canada, No. 4 Sweden and No. 5 Switzerland. The B group includes No. 2 United States, No. 3 Finland, No. 6 Russia and No. 7 China. Teams play each other team in their group once, and the top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals Feb. 22. The remaining four teams play in the classification round to determine fifth through eighth places Feb. 20 and 22.

Yale's other two Olympians were part of the 2006 games in Torino, Italy: Helen Resor '09, who played for Team USA, and Denise Soesilo '10, who played for Team Germany. The Bulldogs' other Olympic connection is Ben Smith, the former head coach of the U.S. Women's Olympic Team, who was an assistant coach for the Yale men's hockey team.

Complete Olympic coverage with television listings is available at www.nbcolympics.com.

More on Natalie Babony 

Natalie Babony '06 Slovakian Olympic Team Schedule

Saturday, Feb. 13, 5 p.m. Vancouver time/8 p.m. Eastern time:
Preliminary Round Group A Game 2, Slovakia vs. Canada
U.S. TV: CNBC

Monday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m. Vancouver time/10 p.m. Eastern time:
Preliminary Round Group A Game 6, Slovakia vs. Sweden

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m. Vancouver time/10 p.m. Eastern time:
Preliminary Round Group A Game 10, Slovakia vs. Switzerland
U.S. TV: CNBC

Saturday, Feb. 20, TBA:
Classifications

Monday, Feb. 22, TBA:
Semifinals, 5-8 Classifications
U.S. TV: USA Network, CNBC (Semifinals)

Thursday, Feb. 25, 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Vancouver time/2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Eastern time:
Bronze Medal, Gold Medal Games
U.S. TV: MSNBC

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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