A Qunnipiac hockey player is taking time off to represent her native Sweden on the ice in Sochi.
Erica Uden-Johansson came to Quinnipiac University after being recruited at a hockey camp in Sweden. She jokes that the real reason she decided to attend was because Quinnipiac’s colors – blue and yellow – match Sweden’s.
Uden-Johansson said it was tough transitioning to life in Connecticut, but she’s grateful for everything she’s learned along the way.
“It was really difficult in the beginning. I barely talked English at all… but then again, no one spoke Swedish to me, so I had to speak English,” Uden-Johansson said, adding, “I’ve definitely grown to be more outgoing and just grew up, basically.”
She said Quinnipiac has helped to hone her hockey skills and positioned her well for her second Olympic appearance.
“It feels really great to be here,” she told NBC Connecticut’s Kevin Nathan, “and also that I can take everything that I’ve learned from Quinnipiac to use it here… combined with the stuff that we use for Team Sweden.”
Sweden is off to a good start after edging out Japan on Day 2 of the Games. Although Jenni Asserholt made the winning shot, Uden-Johansson played an aggressive game with a team-high four shots on goal. She saw just under 10 minutes of playing time.
Uden-Johansson competed in the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver, when Team Sweden fell short in overtime during the bronze medal game. This year she’s hoping for a place on the podium.
She’ll return to Quinnipiac next year to play her senior season.
Team Sweden will face Germany on Tuesday.