Alena Mills at the training of the women's hockey team on January 26, 2022 in Prague.
Prague – The captain of the Czech hockey team, Alena Mills, has decided to end her career in the national team. The 32-year-old striker led the Czech Republic to historic bronze medals at last year's and this year's world championships as well as to their first participation in the Olympic Games in Beijing 2022 with the “céček” on their jersey. Mills announced her decision on Instagram.
“I already made up my mind at the last World Cup. I felt that I couldn't give the national team any more. There are a lot of talented young players who deserve a place in the team and they should be given space now,” said Mills, who in she made her debut with the national team at the age of fourteen.
Five years later, she became the captain of the national team for the first time. With the national team, she experienced a fall to the second division, the third highest level, and a subsequent promotion to the highest category. The Czechs have been playing among the elite since the 2015/16 season. Two years ago, they advanced to the Olympic Games for the first time, last year they won their first medals at the World Cup and this year they defended their bronze.
“The strongest moment of my career is definitely participating in the Olympic Games. For female hockey players, it's like the Stanley Cup finals for men. We've been trying for sixteen years, and when it happened, it was a dream. Made even stronger by the fact that I could to be the flag bearer of the entire Czech Olympic team. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. It was a beautiful experience,” said Mills.
The native of Kutná Hora played 260 matches in the national team, in which she scored 102 goals and 133 assists. She played fifteen times in the World Championship. Mills has worked overseas, where she left at the age of 15, in Russia, Finland and last season in Sweden.
She wants to continue playing hockey. He is now discussing a new engagement. But he is gradually going to devote himself to training. “I feel that I can influence the young generation of Czech hockey players the most. With the Through Generations project, we are working at a hockey academy, and coaching opportunities at American universities are opening up for me. I would like to pass on what I have learned during my nineteen years as a hockey player in the national team, to inspire young players that it is possible to succeed in this sport even in our small country,” she said the day before her 33rd birthday.
Czech women's hockey is experiencing its most successful period in history, but Mills believes that it can be even better. “I believe that the journey of Czech women's hockey is still just beginning and that the new generation will be able to achieve what we thought was impossible years ago. That it will be able to expand and strengthen women's hockey in our country even more. And that they will reach for successes that are still still ahead,” Mills wrote.