Natalie Darwitz

#20 - Forward - U.S. Women’s Olympic Team

Pregame

What’s your favorite drill?
My favorite drill is Ring of Fire. It’s a Coach Mark Johnson drill. You’re all playing three-on-three inside one circle. It’s kind of like bubble hockey. We’ll just leave it at that.

What’s your warm up routine?
I’m pretty laid back. I just go with the flow. I’m not superstitious, so I don’t necessarily have to eat a bagel at the same time before the game or dress a certain way. Usually when I get to the rink I’ll tape the stick up, change into my hockey clothes, warm up with the team and then get dressed for the game.

How do you unwind after a big game?
Cool down and get in a good stretch. By then I’m usually starving so a good meal after a game hits the spot.

From one of the youngest Olympians in 2002 to a veteran heading toward Vancouver in 2010, Natalie Darwitz is focused on the future.From one of the youngest Olympians in 2002 to a veteran heading toward Vancouver in 2010, Natalie Darwitz is focused on the future.

Main Event

When did you start playing hockey?
I started skating when I was 3 or 4, and I had an older brother and sister and my dad was a coach. I pretty much grew up at the rink, so I bugged my mom and dad, “when do I get to play hockey?” My mom was concerned because there was no female hockey. I was excited that on my 5th birthday I was like, “I can play hockey today.”

"Growing up I pretty much played everything: track, softball, soccer
and hockey."

Who was your first coach?
My dad was my coach.

Who was your favorite coach growing up?
I’m going to have to go with my high school hockey coach — Merlin Ravenden. He was actually my elementary phys-ed teacher and then he became my high school coach, so we had a little history there. He just made going to the rink fun every day, and I had a great time playing with him through high school hockey.

Did you play any other sports growing up?
Growing up I pretty much played everything: track, softball, soccer and hockey. As I got older I got more serious about hockey, which was my passion. I also stuck with fast-pitch softball in high school. I enjoy golfing a lot now, along with playing tennis and being out on the water and stuff like that.

Why did you stick with hockey?
That’s just where my passion was. When I woke up in the morning, hockey would be the first thing on my mind, and I just followed that. My dad always said I was better in softball, but I loved hockey more.

How important do you think it is to play other sports?
I’m all for kids playing as many sports as they can when they’re young, instead of specializing in one area. There are so many positives to playing other sports and to be around different teams and team aspects. I think you gain so much from each individual sport, and it carries over into your primary sport, which you have the most passion for. That helped me, growing up playing other sports, too.

What advice do you have for the younger players?
My main thing for kids is to make sure they’re having fun and make sure they’re not doing it because their parents are forcing them to do it. It has to be for them.

In the Bag

Skates: Easton, S15 
Stick: Easton, S17
Helmet:  Easton
Gloves:  Easton

photo by Getty Images

 

Issue: 
2008-08

Poll

What has been your favorite off-ice activity this summer?: