Hockey’s Prünster in Goal for Colby—and Austria

Goalie Nina Prünster before the start of the NESCAC quarterfinals against Bowdoin.
By Laura Meader
March 7, 2020

Ice hockey isn’t the most popular sport for girls in Nina Prünster’s native Austria, but that didn’t stop her. She just played with the boys. Goalie Prünster ’22 would go on to play for the all-girls Under 18 Austrian National team—a team she made at age 14.

When she first suited up for the national team, Prünster was speechless. “It is obviously a great honor and such a privilege. The first time I played it was an amazing feeling. Putting on that jersey, I couldn’t believe it.” Starting in 2013, Prünster spent four years on the Austrian U18 team before coming to Mayflower Hill.

This December, between playing games for Colby, economics major-Prünster got another shot at representing her country. She successfully made the adult Austrian National Team, where, she says, “I have the privilege to represent Austria at the Women’s World Championships in France in April.”

Nina Prünster before the NESCAC women’s hockey quarterfinal match against Bowdoin Feb. 29, 2020 (Photo by Dustin Satloff)

So how did someone who has played in four total U18 World Championship tournaments find her way to Mayflower Hill? After playing at a camp in Sweden, college coaches recommended Prünster do a year of prep school. She played during her post-grad year at Kent School in Connecticut. Shortly after she got to Kent, her coach connected her with Colby women’s ice hockey coach Holley Tyng, and Prünster came for a visit. It wasn’t a hard decision after that. “I met the whole team, toured the campus, and fell in love with it.” 

Clearly, she’s found success here in Maine. With a record of 9-3-4, Colby women’s hockey is second in the NESCAC. This past weekend Prünster shutout Bowdoin to help the Mules notch a quarter-final victory. The Colby women advance to the semi-finals and will head to Middlebury this weekend to play Amherst in the second round of the NESCAC tournament. Should they advance, they’ll have the chance to take on the winner of fourth-ranked Hamilton and top seed Middlebury. Despite her impressive run with the world’s best, Prünster has confidence in her Colby teammates. “It’s really amazing,” she said, “being on this team.”