While most of the athletes at the first Winter Youth Olympic Games, Innsbruck 2012, were used to the cold and ice, there are a few exceptions. One of which is Australian ice hockey player Sam Hodic who, before arriving in Austria, had never seen snow before. “It’s amazing, the best experience I’ve ever had,” he said about seeing snow fall for the first time soon after he had arrived.
Sam, who lives in Victoria, spends countless hours travelling each week to attend training and games for his club, the Melbourne Ice. While the Aussie weather isn’t usually suitable for ice hockey, the 15-year-old has the sport in his blood. “My Dad used to play, and one time he took me down during his game and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Australia didn’t send an ice hockey squad to Innsbruck, so Sam competed in the new Skills Challenge. It’s the first event of its type to be held at an Olympic event. Although Sam didn’t make the final, he insisted at the Games: “I’m just here for the experience and to have a good time.”