She's German on ice

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

She was born in the USA but is playing hockey for Germany.

We're not sure how Springsteen would sing about this one but Nikola Holmes has dual citizenship because her mother is German and her father American and she entered the world in Bellflower, Calif. (and if that sounds familiar, it's because Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Kelly Malveaux is from the same town).

"My dad was in the military during Vietnam and he was shipped to Germany because he was an officer commandeering tanks and they didn't use tanks in Vietnam," Holmes explained yesterday. "He met a nice German woman and didn't want to let her go so she came over.

"I spent my summers in Germany and the rest of the year in the States. So, I have a real strong connection to Germany."

But it was only after college that Holmes hooked up with Team Germany, which played Switzerland in its first game of the 2007 Women's World Hockey Championship at the MTS Centre last night.

"My senior year at Princeton, I was trying to figure out what to do with my life and started to think, 'Oh my God, I'm not going to be able to play hockey anymore. I need to get serious about work and life and I don't know if I want to do that,'" the engaging Holmes said with a laugh. "Basically, in February of my senior year, I learned that I could also play hockey in Germany. I was planning on going to Germany anyway just to get a little refreshing change of scenery.

"Then I found out I could play hockey competitively there and also be on the German national team. That changed my outlook and prospects for a job. That's why I went over there."

Although the 5-foot-10, 157-pound forward is considered to be one of the better German players, the Americans found her wanting.

"That's hardly comparable," said Holmes, who now works in Berlin. "I don't think I was good enough."

Holmes, 26, actually grew up in Apple Valley, Minn., where her mother made sure she learned the native German tongue.

"In Minnesota, there is a strong German influence and my mother was also part of the German Club and things like that," said Holmes, adding that her parents were planning to come up for last night's match.

Holmes has scored 14 goals in 49 international games before last night and is expected to be one of Germany's leaders here this week.

"We're kind of on the verge," she said. "We have a lot of talent on the team and if everyone has a good game and we all play together, we can definitely scare Sweden, we can definitely scare Finland."

But first, they had to beat the Swiss.


Photos