'I get to choose what I want to go out and examine or analyse...'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Sport Coaching with endorsements in Strength and Conditioning and Performance Analysis
Playing ice hockey for New Zealand is 'definitely a carnival ride' for Zoe. She first put on the Ice Ferns jersey at the 2014 World Championships in Asiago, Italy.
'When you win a game at the Worlds, they play your anthem at the end,' she says. 'Singing that with my team was definitely a proud moment.'
Representing her country is a huge personal achievement and has surprised Zoe by showing her just what an influence she could have on young players.
'The mum of one of the girls I used to coach told me that she cut my photo out of the paper and put it up on her wall. I was absolutely floored!'
Zoe is looking forward to her first Christmas at home for several years as she normally spends her summers training overseas in places like Toronto and Banff in Canada, and Minnesota, USA. She enjoys the camaraderie of playing team sports.
'I don't get to spend much time with my teammates as a lot of them aren't from Christchurch, and we also have a lot of dual players from overseas. I do miss my friends who train and live in Canada, so it's always exciting when the season gets closer and I'll get to see them again. You get very close when you compete and train together — it can get pretty emotional.'
With sport a big part of Zoe's life already, studying at university has sealed her decision to make it her career off the rink as well.
'I would be extremely happy in a career that would allow me to extend on some of the research I'm doing in my Performance Analysis class,' she says. 'When I started at UC, it was originally to do a Law degree, but I threw in a couple of Sport Coaching courses for the hell of it. It turns out that I enjoyed them a lot so I stuck with Sport Coaching.
'The Sport Coaching degree is a lot more hands-on. I get to experiment and play with equipment in the lab, which is fun. I also enjoy being able to put my own ideas onto assignments — I get to choose what I want to go out and examine or analyse.’
Zoe finds she can apply a lot of what she learns to her own training, in collaboration with her fellow students.
‘This all creates a friendly environment as you actually work together with the people in your class instead of sitting in a lecture room all year and still not knowing anyone. Not that lectures are bad..!'
Apart from her studies, Zoe is involved with UC Sport’s Athlete Development Programme which helps student athletes with their own performance. It's a resource she values highly.
'I get access to the ADP rooms in the Rec Centre, which is fantastic. They have assisted me with things like training plans and rehab stuff.'
Naturally, Zoe's talent for ice hockey means she spends a lot of time at the rink in Christchurch, but she has other good reasons to be there.
'I work at Alpine Ice — in the café, doing floor patrol and driving the Zamboni! So after uni and the gym I usually go home and study before work. If I don't have work then I'll likely have speed practice or hockey, so I'll go to the rink anyway. I've recently started speed skating, and that's something I'd really like to get into more.'
Zoe chose UC partly so she could save money by living at her home in New Brighton, but she knew it would be a good decision overall.
‘The campus is gorgeous and I have a lot of fun here. I think that if you get involved in the classes you can really enjoy it. The lecturers are incredibly knowledgeable, outgoing and friendly. Most importantly they encourage you to approach them. They have great lab equipment and it’s surprising how much you learn by the end of the year.'