Staenz Adding to International Experience, Aiming for Roster Spot at Olympics

Phoebe Staenz. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Phoebe Staenz. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Freshman Forward Will Play for Switzerland at Mountain Cup Later this Month

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Like many of her fellow Yale students, freshman forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland) of the women's ice hockey team will be doing some traveling during the upcoming winter break -- but in Staenz' case, it is not for a vacation. She will represent her native Switzerland on the ice later this month as she looks to continue her progress towards earning a spot on her country's roster for the upcoming Olympics. Staenz, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring and is second in the nation in points per game among freshmen, will start her winter break playing for Switzerland at the Mountain Cup tournament in Austria.

The Mountain Cup -- which includes Switzerland, Austria, France and Slovakia -- takes place from Dec. 20 to 22 at the Nockhalle in Radenthein, Austria. Switzerland plays France on Dec. 20, Austria on Dec. 21 and Slovakia on Dec. 22.

Staenz, who has seven goals and nine assists in 11 games with Yale this season, has extensive experience playing with the Swiss National Team. She played for Switzerland in the IIHF Women's World Championship in 2013 in Ottawa (sixth place), 2012 in Vermont (bronze medal) and 2011 in Switzerland (sixth place). She also played for the Swiss Under-18 team for three years.

Last month, Staenz played for Switzerland at the Smile Japan Bridgestone Blizzak Challenge in Tokyo, where she scored a pair of goals in her country's 3-2 overtime win vs. Germany in the first game of the tournament.

Prior to coming to Yale Staenz was Boston Globe All-Scholastic and the Division 1 Player of the Year in girls' prep school hockey at Choate Rosemary Hall. She was also league MVP and led her team with 38 goals and 23 assists. The team was New England finalists.

Staenz also played hockey for Assabet Valley, winning a national championship earlier this year. A resident of Ezra Stiles College at Yale, she plays classical and jazz piano as well as the drums.

After the Mountain Cup, Switzerland will also play in the Meco Nations Cup in Füssen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The Swiss roster for that tournament has not been finalized. Switzerland plays Sweden on Jan. 4 and Austria on Jan. 5, with the championship (and third- and fifth-place games) on Jan. 6. That six-team tournament also includes Finland, Germany and Russia.

Switzerland will then play in the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 8-20. That eight-team tournament starts with teams competing in groups of four. Switzerland is in "Group A" with No. 2 Canada, No. 3 Finland and No. 1 USA. After three games of round-robin play within each group, the top two teams in Group A advance directly to the semifinals (Feb. 17). The third- and fourth-place finishers in Group A play the second- and first-place finishers from Group B (No. 7 Germany, No. 10 Japan, No. 4 Russia and No. 6 Sweden), respectively, in the quarterfinals on Feb. 15. The gold medal game and the bronze medal game are on Feb. 20 at Bolshoy Ice Dome.  

Switzerland is currently ranked No. 5 in the world in women's ice hockey. The team finished in seventh at the 2006 Olympics and fifth at the 2010 Olympics.

The Swiss Olympic Team roster will be announced on Monday, Jan. 27. The other Yale women's hockey players in Olympic history were Helen Resor '09 (USA) and Denise Soesilo '10 (Germany), who played at the 2006 Olympics, and Natalie Babony '06 (Slovakia), who played at the 2010 Olympics.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity