In my fifth installment of Green Mountain Gals, I sat down with defensemen Sammy Kolowrat. The Czech native has spent four years at UVM before recently signing with the Metropolitan Riveters of the NWHL.
Originally from the Czech Republic, Kolowrat got a late start to the game of hockey as she began playing at the age of eight, but was doing figure skating beforehand. One day, Kolowrat told her mom that she wanted to play hockey and said, “That looks more fun, let’s try that.”
Kolowrat spent four years playing for the Czech Republic National Team. “We’re a pretty small country and hockey’s a big sport there,” said Kolowrat. Despite playing for her country, it was the moments when she’d be on the ice with some of the best players from the U.S. and Canada that left the 23-year-old defensemen starstruck.
She always envisioned playing hockey in the states, however, she wasn’t recruited until her senior year in high school. “I took a post-grad year at Chote to hopefully get recognized and it helped as I had almost a whole semester to get ready for UVM and it helped with the culture shock from coving over from the Czech Republic.” She would end up getting her undergrad degree in biological science and her masters in Pharmacology.
In her four years at UVM, Kolowrat raved about the Burlington community. “I liked it so much that I spent an extra year here for graduate school, so I certainly didn’t hate it,” laughed Kolowrat. Seeing that the state of Vermont doesn’t have professional sports teams, it sets the spotlight on schools like UVM which help bring in bigger crowds.
In her senior year, she played alongside 22-year-old countrywoman Blanka Skodova. “I’ve known her for a while and I played against her back home and it feels like everything is coming full circle,” said Kolowrat. She also mentioned that UVM currently has two Czech girls on the team, one of which was a redshirt last season.
Signing with the Riveters is something Kolowrat is really excited about. “He (Ivo Mocek) reached out to me about a year ago, but I was finishing up grad school at the time,” said Kolowrat. She mentions that before, everyone was convinced that DI was the highest level for women’s hockey.
“Gender inequality exists in our society, whether it’s in the workplace or in sports,” said Kolowrat. She also mentions that women are starting to demand more and make it easier for women to play the game and not have to worry about having a second job.
It was just last week when Kolowrat got on the ice for the first time this past Tuesday in over a year. “It’s a good thing COVID hit because I didn’t feel so bad knowing that most of the other people on the ice hadn’t skated in months,” joked Kolowrat. She’s spent the last year working, doing cross-fit and was doing coaching as a little break after spending four years of playing hockey.
Kolowrat will head back home to join the Czech National Team for training camp in August which lasts all month which she also says should help put her in shape for the NWHL season. Kolowrat is currently living in Delaware and working as a medical assistant in a reconstructive plastic surgery office.