Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Natalie Babony ’06

When the Canadian women’s hockey team takes the ice in Vancouver on Saturday for its Winter Olympics opener, Natalie Babony ’06 will be there with blades on. But not for Canada, where she grew up. The daughter of immigrants, Babony will play for her parents’ native country, Slovakia. (She holds dual citizenship.) “We grew up speaking Slovak at home and continuing many Slovak traditions,” Babony says in an athletics department press release. “It is very much a part of who we are.”

So is hockey: father Anton skated for a minor-league team in Slovakia, and sister Andrea joined Natalie on the Slovakian Olympic qualifying team in 2000. At Yale, Natalie led the team in scoring in 2002–03, and the 2004–05 squad set a school record for wins. She’s just the third Yale women’s player ever to make an Olympic hockey team, and she’s apparently the only Yalie competing in this winter’s games.

Asked by the Yale Daily News in 2003 what her life included besides school and hockey, Babony replied: “Nothing. It’s studying and hockey.” But now, the pharmaceutical company employee notes, “Once you finish college, it’s much more difficult to find that consistency and availability in ice time, especially as a female hockey player. … I never realized how great it was to be a collegiate athlete until now!”

Filed under alumnae, hockey, Olympics
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