Dutch pair set to turn out for Capital
Carlijn Welten is a 25-year-old doctor who has played 33 hockey tests for Netherlands and is about to retire.
Her father is a surgeon, her brother soon to be one and two other brothers are bankers, so she comes from a family of high achievers.
This is down time for Welten before life and death stare her in the face daily.
From next month Welten moves into the medical crisis area which is a stepping stone to her dream of specialising in child psychiatry.
There was a sporting dream but injuries put paid to that in the run-up to last year's Olympic Games in London.
"It's too hard to combine the both," she said.
"Everyone in the hockey society says I'm very young, I am.
"But, if you want to have a good career too, at one point you have to make a decision."
This story is about two friends since 13 having one final bit of fun before the daily grind kicks in.
Welten and another talented Dutch player Else Groen, 25, are turning out as international guest players for Capital in the national hockey league, which starts on Saturday.
Groen is a former Dutch age grade international. She played for Capital last year and talked Welten into joining her this time.
The pair take their hockey seriously and know they have obligations to Capital but in between they've found time for a couple of road trips and are generally having a ball.
They've walked in the National Park, drunk wine in Martinborough and Welten has popped down to Queenstown.
"It is nice, how many times do you go travelling with your friend. My boyfriend said 'go for it'," Welten said.
The friendliness of people impresses them but they are surprised at falling foul of a few bouncers and bartenders who believe they are under-age.
"We keep playing paper, sisscors, rock to see who goes to the bar," Groen said.
Dutch hockey players are renown for their technical skills and New Zealand ones for the physical aspect they bring to any contest. Groen plays in the midfield and Welten up front and the joke is they change the name on their playing tops to "Smith" to avoid getting clattered.
Still, Groen coped last year and will do so again this.
"Last year I felt beat up after every game. Tackles and tackles," she said.
"We are very motivated, we want to really push it and do well because we haven't actually played that much together."
Groen will stay in Wellington until January. She has just graduated too, with a masters in communications and would like an internship in marketing.
Capital's were sixth of eight teams last year and open their campaign against Kayla Sharland's Central in Levin on Saturday before hosting Southern on Sunday. The Capital men have the same draw at the same venues.
The Dominion Post