In the series “Disappeared Hockey Players” talents from the past answer the question of why they suddenly stopped. In this episode, Sam Saxton (29), who became the world champion with the Dutch Juniors, but after two years followed her heart and chose an adventure as a singer.
A lot in life revolves around timing. Three days after the interview at the Vascoblo Café in Amsterdam, the music career of former Blumendal and Hurley reached a milestone. After years of shaping her singing ambitions mainly through performances, she has now released her first single: Foggy days. It can be listened to via this link.
At the end of the interview about her retirement from hockey seven years ago, Saxton says, “Now that I think about it, I have a lot in common with my hockey career. Keep following your own path, even if you run into bumps along the way. I loved hockey, But the world of music attracted me more and more.
Thank you for girls under 16
At the age of 17, Saxton transitioned from her childhood sweetheart and then Blumendale transitional split to Hurley in the big league. She then won the world title in 2013 in Mönchengladbach with the Dutch Juniors. I stopped playing hockey after two years.
In retrospect, the first signs may have already introduced themselves when they thanked the Dutch Girls U16. My week was very full. School, guitar lessons, training six times a week, I just couldn’t do it. Once I was crying in the car on my way to training. I also felt like I wasn’t in a full place on the team. There was a certain atmosphere that I didn’t like. I played hockey mainly because I liked it, not because I wanted to get the Orange. Many of these girls have known each other for years. There was a certain competition between them that I didn’t like at all ‘, says the former striker about her experience in that period.
What I’ve really noticed is that when you play at the top level, you should be happy to be selected for these types of selection teams. Sam Saxton
In addition to some understanding reactions, the fifteen-year-old talent also received some negative reactions to her decision to quit at Dutch Girls U16. Some people reacted strongly to it. Especially those who have come forward with me and feel that I owe them a choice. Although I didn’t ask for it at all. They thought I was ungrateful. What I’ve really noticed is that when you play at the top level, you should be happy to be chosen for these types of selection teams. This is the way to go. But this did not apply to me.
A few years later, it was Rick Mathiesen — her Hurley coach and assistant Raoul Erin at Holland Juniors at the time — who asked her if she was open to participating in the selection training sessions at Young Orange. My first reaction was that I didn’t want to. My thoughts immediately returned to the oppressive atmosphere of the Dutch U16. But Rick insisted there was a completely different vibe in Jong Oranje. I suggest I just try it. I did it. And let’s be honest: Rick was right. I really loved playing in Holland. In the end, I am very happy that I did, because I had two wonderful years there,” says Saxton, who, in addition to the 2013 World Cup, also won the 2012 European Championship.
Acting instead of coaching
In parallel with her hockey career, Saxton took her first steps in the world of music. At the age of twelve, she learned to play guitar from her parents. Later in her life she started singing. Eventually her first performances followed.
I took my guitar with me to the U21 World Championships. With a roommate I wrote a song for the whole team. I think it was always very clear to my teammates that I enjoyed singing as well as playing hockey.
Her singing ambitions became increasingly dangerous when Saxton withdrew from evening training at Hurley because she was invited to sing somewhere. It was a show that I really wanted to do, in a village, on a beautiful stage, with a band. Of course, you don’t just cancel training. Fortunately, Rick was fine with that. But if he didn’t agree, I would have gone to that party. I wanted it so badly. In retrospect, you might say that this was my first split with top hockey.
The end of the hockey career
After the World Championships, Saxton was still too old to play for the Dutch Juniors, but she was no longer running for elections. She and her boyfriend took a musical trip across Canada. Returning to Holland, she dared to follow her heart more and more. Two years into the world title, the wand closed.
Besides my growing interest in music, my ongoing back problems have also played a role in stopping hockey. Every now and then I passed my back. Playing for Holland was a big challenge because of my back problems. If I were to apply to the Dutch national team, these complaints would only increase, as I expected. I didn’t think it was worth it. Moreover, the lure of music was too great for that. Instead of four times a week, I started training twice a week for the last months at Hurley. That was perfect for me. But you are on a team. You can’t ask to train less, but play just as much. That’s why I decided it was time to stop.
Her first single
With its empty schedule on weekday evenings and weekends, the space is now open for performances. Saxton had not released his own music at the time. In addition to her singing career, Saxton has also focused on her studies in psychology.
The former hockey star cannot live on music today. However, at the beginning of this year, I started working one less day a week to focus more on singing. This led to the release of her first single, seven years after she stopped playing hockey.
It took a while before I released my first single. But that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting still all these years. I would occasionally do some gigs and make my own music with my boyfriend, which we didn’t release at the time. At that time, several ideas came out that eventually developed into a full album that would be released in 2023. I haven’t really missed hockey in all that time. I remember my time as a hockey player with great pleasure. I think it’s very cool what I’ve experienced with Bloemendaal, Hurley and Jong Oranje. I am very proud of that. But the fact that I eventually stopped was a good option.