Staenz, Switzerland Start Olympic Competition Saturday

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

Freshman Forward in Sochi

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Freshman forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland) of the Yale women's ice hockey team will start competition for her native Switzerland at the Olympics this Saturday in Sochi, Russia. Switzerland opens with a game vs. Canada that can be seen live in the United States at 8:00 a.m. Eastern on MSNBC.

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

The Olympic women's ice hockey competition takes place Feb. 8-20. The 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 winners of those two quarterfinal games advance to the semifinals on Feb. 17, while the four teams not in the semis compete in the classification round for spots five through eight. Classification games take place on Feb. 16 and Feb. 18.

The gold medal game and the bronze medal game are on Feb. 20 at Bolshoy Ice Dome. 

Staenz (whose last name is pronounced "Stence") was one of 21 players selected for Switzerland's roster. She has extensive experience playing with the Swiss National Team, including three appearances in the IIHF Women's World Championship (sixth place in 2013 in Ottawa, a bronze medal in 2012 in Vermont and a sixth-place finish in 2011 in Switzerland). Prior to making the Swiss National Team for the World Championship in 2011 she played for the Swiss Under-18 team for three years.

Staenz played in a pair of tournaments recently in preparation for the upcoming Olympics. Switzerland won the Mountain Cup in December in Radenthein, Austria, beating Austria, France and Slovakia; Staenz had a goal and three assists. She also had a goal and an assist in three games at the Nations Cup, which concluded last month in Germany.

It was at the Nations Cup that Switzerland made its final roster cuts. On the night of Sunday, Jan. 5, the players were called to a team meeting and informed that the final cuts had been made.

Staenz, a resident of Ezra Stiles college at Yale, has made an instant impact for the Bulldogs. She currently leads the team in goals, assists and points (9-14-23). Her selection to the Olympic roster is another milestone for the Yale program. The other Bulldog women's ice 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. Yale's former head coach, Hilary Witt, is an assistant coach with Team USA this year.

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.

Staenz' parents are still in Switzerland, as is her youngest brother, Zachariah. Her brother Yannick attends North Dakota, where he plays intramural hockey, and her brother Joshua plays at The Gunnery.

Switzerland Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Schedule

  • Saturday, Feb. 8, 8:00 a.m. Eastern time: Switzerland vs. Canada (TV: MSNBC)
  • Monday, Feb. 10, 5:00 a.m. Eastern time: Switzerland vs. USA (TV: NBCSN)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 12, 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time: Switzerland vs. Finland (TV: MSNBC)
  • Saturday, Feb. 15, TBD: Quarterfinals (NBCSN)
  • Sunday, Feb. 16, TBD: First Classification Round (5 through 8)
  • Monday, Feb. 17, TBD: Semifinals (TV: NBCSN)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18, TBD: Second Classification Round (5/6, 7/8)
  • Thursday, Feb. 20, TBD: Bronze Medal Game (TV: NBCSN) or Gold Medal Game (TV: NBC)


Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity