She’s the Man

Freshman female hockey player breaks stereotypes


30 seconds left on the clock.

In the heat of the moment, freshman Katarina Zahedi watches in anticipation as the puck slides across the ice, thrashed by the force of the sticks. Her eyes are unwavering, making sure to keep time with the puck’s path.

Suddenly, the small black cylinder is directly in her line of view. With amazing agility and precision, she steals the puck, snatching it from under the opponent’s nose. In one quick swipe, the puck hits the net just as the buzzer sounds.

Amongst loud cheers and cries of victory, Katarina is celebrated by the rest of the team for helping to secure a win, just like one of the boys. With a short stature and a petite frame, Katarina is an unprecedented image of a hockey player. But her strong determination and tomboyish attitude display a certain spark when it comes to the ice.

“I really love the sport,” Katarina said. “It’s like my daily escape from school and real life. I just love the feeling I get when stepping on the ice. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

As a young child, Katarina was originally involved in figure skating. However, she discovered a certain fondness for the sport, and at the age of 10 began playing hockey on a small girls’ team. She soon realized she wanted to do bigger and better things, she moved on to a larger team. However, there’s a catch: It’s an all boys team, except for Katarina, of course.

“You feel kind of special, and it’s your chance to prove that you can compete just as well with them,” Katarina said. “It’s never been intimidating to me, I’ve never been afraid.”

Despite her gender, she works hard to play up to their standards, proving she’s just as good of a player as they are. She strives to display as strong passion for the sport, training during the off season for district-level camps where potential scouts may be watching.

“There is some moments of worry on my part, but I think she handles it very well,” mother Samantha said. “She’s very tough and she loves it so much. She just has to play smarter, quicker, harder.”

Although she’s currently only a freshman, Katarina has big dreams of continuing the sport.

“I would like to go play Division 1 college hockey and play on the women’s national team, and maybe even get into the Olympics,” Katarina said.

Her mental toughness has been able to harden her into a solid player, and changed her in more ways than one. She’s been able to grow as an integral part of her team and establish herself as a true hockey player.

“In the beginning it was difficult, but i got used to it. you just have to manage your time well, and you eventually just learn it,” Katarina said. “My family really supports me and they’re always there for me.”