POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Collegiate athletes from around the world will call the North Country home for the new few weeks.

This is to accommodate the 2023 FISU World University Games which are being held in Lake Placid, New York. The games are an 11-day multi-sport winter sports event where teams from over 50 countries compete for gold, silver and bronze medals.

Clarkson University and SUNY Potsdam and Canotn are set to host women’s and men’s ice hockey games.

Players say that this is a dream come true as many have been skating since they could walk.

“It’s definitely an experience that I never thouught I was going to be able to do before,” Team USA Women’s Ice Hockey Defender Erin Mcardle said. “It was just very exciting to just be able to put the jersey on and represent USA.”

Team USA’s Women’s Ice Hockey team faced Japan in Potsdam on the opening day of the games. Head Coach Brendon Knight said that this has brought together a strong team.

“The women’s hockey world is a pretty small world,” Knight said. “We have some pretty accomplished players in that locker room. So it’s pretty hard to keep them a secret.”

The fans, including many family members of the players, also shared their pride in the stands.

“We’re honored,” Dan Giordana expressed. “I mean it’s a great accomplishment for all the girl’s here. So far, it’s been a great experience.”

“To have them represent Team USA means the wold to us,” Mary Popick added. “That’s why we’e here to support them in any way.”

Japan ultimately took the win over the U.S. with a final score of 3-1.

However, Head Coach Yujiiro Nakajimaya explained that the team has been welcomed to the North Country with open arms.

“It feels like we don’t have to do anything,” he said. “We just have to focus on the play on the ice. Really, really thankful for this.”

And regardless of the final score,, the games will bring together athletes who share the same passion.

“We have a couple of players that have never played at the international stage,” Team Japan Captain Chilhiro Suzuki said following the game. “So for us to come to such a big stage at such a big facility here is such an honor.”

“It’s kind of cool to see everyone come from all different places to come together to play the sport that we love,” Team USA’s Mcardle stated.

The FISU World University Games will continue throughout the North Country and Adirondack Region until January 22.