PLYMOUTH, N.H. – It's a long way from Holderness, New Hampshire to Australia, but for Plymouth State University women's ice hockey player Stephanie Newmark, it's not very far at all.
Newmark, a sophomore defenseman, will be playing for the Australian National women's ice hockey team in the upcoming World Championship tournament because she is an Australian citizen, moving with her family to Reading, Mass., five years ago. Her parents, Les and Deborah, gave up good jobs in Australia to move the family to U.S. to give their kids an opportunity to receive a U.S. college education, and achieve their ice hockey ambitions. (Stephanie's younger brother Tim, a high school senior, also plays for Australia, on the U20 National Ice Hockey team.) . After a stellar career at Reading High School and the Assabet Valley Girls Club team (Concord, N.H.), Stephanie considered her collegiate plans. She was sold on Plymouth State soon after visiting.
"I loved the campus, having the new rink was really cool," said Newmark. "It was in the process of being built – so I got to see the rink, the locker room, it was an absolutely beautiful facility; it looked like a Division One rink so that was a major factor for me, I just loved it."
Newmark's coach, Ashley Kilstein, is very happy with what Stephanie has brought to Plymouth State.
"Stephanie is an incredibly talented defenseman who loves the natural feeling of competition and will do anything it takes to contribute," said Kilstein. "As a top defenseman who sees time on the power play, Stephanie has the ability to quarterback the breakout, putting her in great position to both set up plays and allow her to be set up to take her slap shot, which is certainly something to reckon with. Her performance is always on the upswing, as she takes the time to ask for extra workouts, video time, and is looking to always elevate her game."
Newmark believes Plymouth is a great fit for her; she's very happy with the team.
"We're a good team; I think I fit in really well – I feel like my skating and shooting skills fit within this league," added Newmark.
But her season will soon take a very different course. Newmark will leave Plymouth in March to participate in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships as a member of the Australian National Women's team.
"I am excited to represent my country," Newmark said. "We initially go to Northern Italy for a one week training camp, and then drive to Slovenia to compete in the Worlds."
"I am extremely excited that Stephanie gets the ability to both represent her home country and our program at the international level, said Coach Kilstein. "Our team, coaching staff and administration is completely behind her and is extremely supportive. It's pretty incredible when a student-athlete has the ability to bring diversity along with athletic talents to a team, and we are lucky that Stephanie has been able to do just that. The international stage will provide a great platform for Stephanie to show her growth on the ice and as a person."
The sophomore Sports Management major will be keeping up with her studies while competing in the World tournament. The Dean's List student is maintaining a 3.64 GPA and is on track to graduate in 2014.
"It takes a lot of work to keep up good grades, and so far, I'm making it work," Newmark noted. "I would say that PSU is a great school, I love my team, my coach, and importantly I love being on campus."
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For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., or call (603) 535-2775.