20 Questions with – Katya Blong, Junior Olympic Gold Medalist

20 Questions with – Katya Blong, Junior Olympic Gold Medalist


Why do you play hockey? What’s the best part for you?

I play hockey because I love everything from teammates, skating, and the feeling of scoring. Without hockey life would be boring.


When did you start playing hockey?

I first started skating when I was two and started playing hockey when I was four.


You currently are going to school and playing hockey at Ontario Hockey Academy – Tell us, what’s the best part about playing overseas and how are you finding it?

The best part about playing in Canada is how tough and competitive it is. Every day is a challenging like the off-ice and on-ice but I love it.


Walk us through your daily/weekly schedule – how often are you training and what kind of training are you doing?

Every school day we have gym class, and the gym is open on the weekends and after school. In a week we typically have strength, cardio, explosive, and mobility sessions. During the winter, most of the time we will leave for a tournament on Thursday and come back Sunday night. On the road we still have to do schoolwork. School days run from 7:25am to 5:20pm, with ice and gym sessions included.


What’s the biggest difference you notice between the level of Hockey in NZ and Canada?

The biggest difference I have noticed overseas is how more serious everything is. Every game and training we have to stay really focused and work hard otherwise we have to bag skate for punishment (which normally happens every second training, bag skating is tough shuttle skating).


What do you miss about playing hockey in New Zealand?

I miss being more relaxed on the ice and not being worried when making a mistake (for example, each time we miss the net = 5 pushups)


First Kiwi to win a Winter Youth Olympic Gold medal – take us through the emotions you felt after the final buzzer – Did you realise then that you were the first kiwi to win gold?

When it happened I actually had no idea that I was the first to get gold. It was a great feeling. When the final buzzer went off I felt so proud of my teammates and I felt beyond happy that we did it (especially since we had lost to that team before), I also felt sad knowing that this would be my last time seeing many of my Olympic teammates.


Who is your favourite player from the NHL and what is your favourite NHL team? Why?

My favorite NHL team is Washington Capitals, with of course Alexander Ovechkin being my favourite (TJ Oshie is not far behind). I look up to Ovechkin because he’s an insane player. I aspire to have his shot (one-timer, quick release, and power).


If you had to describe Alexander Ovechkin in three words what would they be?

Passionate, skillful, and determined


Do you have any pregame rituals?

Before games I like to listen to really hype music to get the energy up. From the Olympics, I have got a new pre-game ritual that my whole team did. It’s a little game with your hands to get your concentration ready for the game.

Do you do anything during the summer to keep yourself conditioned for hockey season?

During the summer, I like to take advantage of the weather by going for run, and shooting outside, as well and daily gym sessions, and puck-handling.


Do you want to advance to a higher level of play or even get a hockey scholarship?

My goals for the future is to play Division 1 University/College level. I would love to get a scholarship and I am really working on my academics to increase the chances of that.


If so, what kind of things do you need to do to advance? How will you do that?

Currently I am playing Midget AAA which is the highest level for my age group. I know I have to improve in almost every aspect to be at the top. But specifically, I want to get a lot stronger, to get a better shot and get fitter.


How to deal with losses?

Losses aren’t fun but I try to look at the things I screwed up on during the game and use it as motivation so that I can work on that for the next game.


What’s it like sharing a room with other girls?

I love it! I get to spend almost all hours of the day with some of my best friends but sometimes it’s too much and I just want a little break.


Favourite moment while travelling with your team?

My favourite parts of our road trips are our little bus karaoke, hotel rooming with my mates, learning the country song culture, and the fruit gummies we get in the chilly bin.


What would you tell 4-year-old you?

I would probably tell her to just to keep trying even when things are hard and you are tired because everything will pay off in the future.


Last questions – What skates are you wearing?

Custom Supreme 2s Pros (I have a very narrow foot)


What stick and specs do you use? Flex, curve, hand, model etc.

Supreme 2s Pro (my personal favourite), and also Vapor Flylite, 65 flex, left hand, P92 curve


What helmet are you wearing?

My team helmet is a Bauer React 150