Former Gustie Marissa Brandt Brings Home World Championship For South Korea

Posted on April 14th, 2017 by

Marissa Brandt, a former Gustavus women’s hockey player from 2011-15, recently helped South Korea capture the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship – Division II Group A in Gangneug, South Korea.

Brandt and the South Korean team defeated the Netherlands 2-0 to claim the title on its home ice April 8. South Korea went 5-0 in the six-team tournament April 2-8, taking down Slovenia, Britain, Austrailia, and North Korea en route to the championship.

“My experience at the World Championships was unforgettable,” said Brandt. “This was my first official competition with the team so it was an amazing experience. Especially having it in Korea where all of our fans and parents could come out was special.”

A native of Vadnais Heights, Minn., Brandt played in 111 career games and compiled 34 points off 13 goals and 21 assists as a blueliner for the Gusties. In her time, she helped guide Gustavus to three Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, two MIAC Playoff Championships, two NCAA fourth place finishes while garnering two MIAC All-Conference Honorable Mention awards.

Playing a role as one of the few players on the team coming from overseas, Brandt was invited as she was originally born in South Korea and was adopted by an American family. She finished the tournament tied for third on the team with three assists and posted a (+2) plus/minus rating.

Brandt was adopted at four months old and had not returned to Korea since. She was first contacted a few years back by the South Korea goalie coach, Rebecca Baker, a former Bethel University women’s hockey assistant. Baker’s husband, Mitch, previously did some coaching at the University of Minnesota, where Marissa’s sister, Hannah played from 2012-16. The connection then led to a tryout for Brandt.

“I did a tryout and was fortunate enough to make the team. I have been back here and there ever since to train with the team but also to do passport stuff to get my citizenship. It was a little terrifying to go because I knew no one there, did not speak the language and did not know what I was getting myself into. But now looking back, I am so happy I took that leap of faith,” Brandt said. 

“Going back for my first time was very special to me. It was a chance for me to learn about my culture and explore all of what Korea has to offer. When I first got there, there was definitely a language barrier. I do not speak or understand any Korean so even talking to my teammates was difficult. Some can speak English, some can speak very broken English, and some have no idea what I am saying. So after going to Korea so many times now, it is easier for me to understand the girls and they teach me Korean words and phrases which helps. When I first put on the Korean jersey it was so special. It is such an honor to represent my country,” said Brandt. 

While Brandt was helping guide her team to a gold medal in Korea, sister Hannah was also doing the same as a member of the United States team. Hannah Brandt finished off her decorated career at the University of Minnesota as an All-American and a three-time national champion. Team USA won the top division IIHF Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan, defeating Canada 3-2 in overtime just hours before South Korea was crowned a champion as well.

“We both went home with gold medals which was the cherry on top of everything,” Brand commented.

Brandt and the South Korean team will hope to continue its success in its Olympic debut next year at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.

“It was a test event for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics so the venue we played at was the women’s ice hockey olympic venue which was pretty cool. We won gold which was a great way to go out and good momentum for us heading into the Olympics in 10 months,” Brandt concluded.


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