For Victoria Samuelsson, Hockey is a Family Game
The last name “Samuelsson” has gained a certain level of infamy among hockey fans: Two-time Stanley Cup champion Ulf Samuelsson is 25th in NHL history in penalty minutes.
The perception around his daughter, Victoria (who you can find in our Jan/Feb issue starting next week), could not be more different. While Ulf was considered a hard-hitting and aggressive defender, Penn State’s star freshman forward’s game is much different. Her mentality is pass-first, taking pride in the fact that she sees the ice well and is among the team’s leaders in assists. She’s also not one to get called for, as she calls them, “dumb penalties.” In fact, as of Dec. 17, Samuelsson has only taken one trip to the penalty box in 20 games.
The savvy and pure skill that Samuelsson possess on the ice stems from two places. First is her family – along with her father, two of her three brothers play hockey professionally, while her third brother just committed to play at Boston College.
In fact, Samuelsson credits her family as one of the main reasons that she started playing hockey, saying that it gave her another way to spend time with her dad and brothers. Born in Sweden and raised in the United States, Samuelsson played a number of sports as a child, but says that she knew that hockey was always the sport for her.
Her on-ice ability also has roots in her career in Sweden. Samuelsson played for Modo Hockey Dam, a club in Sweden’s top women’s ice hockey league. Additionally, she was the assistant captain for her country’s U18 team at the 2014 World Championship.
But despite having success for club and country, Samuelsson always knew that she wanted to go to college. So in 2014, Samuelsson decided to take a gap year, played with a club team in the States, and went through the recruitment process.
After garnering interest from a handful of schools, Samuelsson decided that she wanted to spend her collegiate career in Happy Valley. The facilities were a plus, as was the opportunity to be a part of a new program. But the biggest draw for Samuelsson was her desire to get into the Smeal College of Business. Despite being a college freshman, she understands that there is life after hockey.
“I wanted to get my education so I can work,” Samuelsson said. “You can’t really get that far in women’s hockey, and I feel like education is more important.”
For now, Samuelsson is one of the brightest young athletes at Penn State. She’s still working to get into the flow of being a student-athlete – her academic career over the last five years consisted of four years of online schooling and a post-grad year – and she is trying to round out her game so she can see the ice as much as possible.
Samuelsson admits that she really needs to work on her defense. Fortunately for her, a former NHL defensemen is only a phone call away.
Bill DiFilippo, online editor