How many student athletes win World Championship gold and attend their own prom in a span of 24 hours? Not many, but Mari Pietersen ‘22 recently achieved this as a part of the U18 Canadian Women’s Hockey Championship winning team, and the Country Day School Class of 2022.
Earlier this spring, Mari joined the team not knowing the role she would play. Initially starting as a backup in a goalie rotation system, she took her chance in the 2nd period of a round robin game vs the USA. After a strong initial showing, Mari was back between the pipes in the Quarter-Finals for a 7-0 victory over Slovakia, although not seeing much action. “I got a shutout, it was only five shots, but a shutout is a shutout - I’m not going to complain.” Mari knew the next game against Finland would be much tougher considering Finland beat Canada 2-0 earlier in the tournament.
Mari rose to the occasion and turned away 20+ shots in a 2-1 win to help Canada avenge their early tournament loss against the Fins - setting up a classic final game against the United States. Mari dug deep and rallied to the gravity of the upcoming game. “I love pressure, you can rise to the occasion or fall, so I love the butterflies in the stomach and the overall environment.”
The final came the next night, with Mari backstopping the team. Team Canada got out to an early 3-0 lead, but half way through the 2nd period, USA scored two quick fire goals which had Canada desperate to see the 2nd intermission. Despite the anxiety over the game tightening up fast, Mari remembers feeling free. “It was the environment and the atmosphere. Playing with the Maple Leaf, and only last year I was simply hoping to play on the team… I was going to enjoy this moment and was just grateful to be there.”
Canada would hold on for a 3-2 win, including a massive toe save from Mari late in the third period. Mari and Team Canada had won the U18 Women’s Hockey World Championship.
Mari planned to go to bed early that night, no matter the result to be sure she could make it home in time for Prom - but that did not go as planned as the general excitement and partying with family kept her up. “We celebrated all night, had a pizza party. It was so much fun.”
Tired and sleepy-eyed, Mari got herself onto a bus at 7:30am from Wisconsin and was on her way to Chicago for a flight back to Toronto. Even on that bus ride, Mari was too energetic to sleep. “I was going through all the photos and videos being sent to me, it was amazing to see it from a different perspective. To watch it back is pretty crazy”. Mari made it to Chicago and had time to kill before her flight, so she looked at photos of her friends getting ready for Prom as she sat at the O’Hare airport wondering if she would make it back.
One quick flight later, Mari got ready and rushed to the CDS Prom where she (medal in hand) was welcomed to a full party applause after being introduced by Student Council President Tawana Ngorima. “It felt great to be introduced like that, but in a way, it didn’t feel warranted. I was just in math class with them.”
Congratulations to Mari on an unforgettable 24-hour span that made this CDS Prom extra special.
Next year, Mari is taking a gap year along with some university courses in preparation for playing Varsity Women’s Hockey at Boston University to study in the fall of 2023.