Q&A: Sarah Potomak on Gophers women’s hockey and 2018 Olympics

Potomak is playing with Team Canada in preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Gophers forward Sarah Potomak maneuvers the puck away from Yale at Ridders Arena on Nov. 20, 2015.

Joe Sulik

Gophers forward Sarah Potomak maneuvers the puck away from Yale at Ridders Arena on Nov. 20, 2015.

by Owen Mageau

This week, the Minnesota Daily talked with Sarah Potomak. Potomak ranked second among Gophers hockey players in goals and assists last season. Since then, she has taken an Olympic redshirt in an attempt to make the Canadian National Team’s final roster.

Playing for your country isn’t new to you, what does representing your country mean?

It’s a pretty humbling experience, the opportunity to represent your country. It’s something I’ve worked towards my whole life, so to get this chance is really an honor. I’m also really proud to be Canadian, so any chance I get to wear the Maple Leaf is a really great experience. 

What has been your favorite experience playing for your country so far? 

Oh gosh, there has been a lot. I think my favorite would probably be winning gold in Budapest in my first year with team Canada, playing for the U18 team. That was pretty awesome. Then, just the people I get to meet through this experience and the friendships that I have made has probably been one of the highlights for me.

How exciting would it be to compete in the Olympics this February?

It would be indescribable if that happened. It would be an absolute dream come true for me and I would be ecstatic. It would be a huge honor if I make the Olympics.

Playing for team Canada, what is the biggest thing you are doing to prepare yourself for the Olympics?

We are doing a lot. We’re playing tons of games against the midget boys here. They’re a really good comparison to playing against the U.S. and Finland. They’re really fast and strong, so that should prepare us a lot. Then just practices and workouts, we’re just continuing to build as a team and getting stronger. Every day we take another step forward towards our goal. It’s been really busy and tough, but it’s been awesome for us. We’ve really grown together as a team.

What are your goals and expectations? How likely is it that team Canada repeats as Gold medalists?

That’s our ultimate goal, to win gold and every day that’s something that we’re working towards. It’s a process and I have no doubt that we can do it. We’re continuing to work every single day and pushing each other to be the best that we can be and bring home that gold medal for Canada.

What do you hope to take out of your experience at the Olympics?

I think being in this atmosphere, being with these girls and this coaching staff is really going to help me as a person, not just as a hockey player. So, I think with this experience I’m really growing, I’ll mature as a person and as a hockey player. I think that’s probably the biggest thing.  

Hockey is huge in Canada, has the University of Minnesota been able to replicate that environment?

Totally, Minnesota is the state of hockey. That’s one reason why I committed too, it’s just that Minnesota is all about hockey and it’s been amazing. Our fan base and support that we’ve received through the last couple years and years prior has been unbelievable. I’m really grateful to be able to play for Minnesota and have that hockey is everything mentality, so it’s been pretty special and fun. 

What do you think of [the Gophers] this year? 

I think they’re an extremely talented group. Our freshmen have been stepping up a lot and everyone has been putting the puck in the net. It hasn’t just been one player so I think that is very cool. I think that they have a really good chance this year of winning it and doing it again. I have no doubt that they will and I think it’d be really cool for them. Everyone’s contributing, everyone is doing well, I think they’re going to do amazing like they always have. I’m really excited to see what they can do.