Yale women’s ice hockey forward Phoebe Staenz ’17 is about to play on the biggest stage there is. Tomorrow, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer will begin a three-week hiatus from Ivy League hockey to represent Switzerland at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The News caught up with Staenz to discuss the Olympics, her freshman year and the Yale squad.

Q. What experience do you have playing for Switzerland?

A. So far I’ve played in three World Championships. I was exactly 17 when I started.

Q. What has it been like to represent your country on the biggest stage there is?

A. It’s been good. There’s a lot of excitement to it, but I don’t really feel a difference. It’s like any other tournament to me.

Q. Was it a surprise to be named to the team?

A. It’s never sure. There’s a lot of things that can happen along the way. I was really glad when it was announced.

Q. Is it an adjustment going from Yale hockey to international hockey, and vice versa?

A. It’s very different. International hockey is a little bit quicker, and the rinks are mostly wider and longer. It’s an entirely different game altogether. Team Canada and Team USA are about the same [style as Yale], but all the European teams are different. It’s more technical hockey.

Q. Are a lot of the players on the Swiss team older than you?

A. We’re probably the youngest team that’s going to be attending the tournament, but more than half of [the Swiss players] are older than me.

Q. How are you dealing with the time off academically?

A. I wouldn’t call it time off at all, more time away. I still have to hand in assignments and work on-time. I’ll be catching up later on the exams I have to take.

Q. How do you think the team will be able to perform without you for three weeks?

A. I think they’ll be fine. I was missing over Christmas break, and they did fine, winning a couple of games. I’m not too worried.

Q. How have you enjoyed playing for Yale in your first season?

A. I’m really enjoying myself. It’s definitely one of the best women’s hockey levels there is out there, so I’m glad I’m here.

Q. What has it been like to contribute so much to the team early on in your career?

A. I can’t really say. I just go out there, give it my best and hope for the best.

Q. What made you choose Yale?

A. The people, the team, definitely. They do a good job recruiting people, especially the team. They’re so open and kind to all the recruits that come. They actually want people to come to Yale.

Q. What got you interested in hockey when you were young?

A. I was five years old. All my friends played, and it was something that I could also do with my brothers, which we did. We all started together, and we’re all still playing now.

Q. Do you have any rituals that you do before or during each game?

A. No, definitely not. We actually just talked about that among the team. Hanna Åström [’15], who’s Swedish, and I like to stay away from those rituals because you get too dependent. Once you can’t do [the ritual], it’ll throw your game off. It’s better to just not have a ritual.

Q. Why do you wear number 88?

A. 88 is the number of Patrick Kane. He’s one of my favorite players and a very good hockey player altogether. I also like double[-digit] numbers.