Go for gold

Su­san Stuck­less played for gold-medal win­ning Team Canada in the ISBHF Mas­ter’s Ball Hockey Cham­pi­onship

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY CHRIS­TINE HENNEBURY

Her­ring Neck na­tive wins big in ball hockey in Ber­muda

Su­san Stuck­less, 42, a data an­a­lyst with MUN’s Fac­ulty of Medicine in St. John’s, started play­ing ball hockey when she was grow­ing up in Her­ring Neck.

“I played a bit of ball hockey grow­ing up, games with the boys at the end of the road,” she said. “I was prob­a­bly the only girl they would let play hockey with them.”

Stuck­less has played ball hockey on and off ever since (and has been in­volved in ice hockey for the past 15 years) but she never ex­pected those early games to lead her to play­ing in the In­ter­na­tional Street and Ball Hockey Fed­er­a­tion’s World Cham­pi­onships this past Septem­ber.

“Two years ago, I went away to na­tion­als. And in 2017, I got ap­proached and asked if I would be in­ter­ested in putting my name in for the Worlds,” Stuck­less said. “It’s hard to be­lieve that I went from a girl who played at the end of the road with a wooden net with a bit of fish­net on it to get­ting to play for Team Canada.”

Stuck­less was ex­cited to be mak­ing the trip to Ber­muda but she was ner­vous about meet­ing the other 18 mem­bers of her team, most of whom had played in the last Masters Tour­na­ment to­gether. How­ever, af­ter a team sup­per and a lit­tle prac­tice, she felt just fine.

“I hadn’t met any of my team­mates un­til we got to Ber­muda — I was the only woman from N.L. that went there,” she said. “But the girls were great, so friendly and wel­com­ing and sup­port­ive. They were pretty tal­ented too, I must say, it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence that way.”

Stuck­less says play­ing in Ber­muda was a unique and fun ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We got to play out­side — that doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten. I don’t think you’ll of­ten get a tour­na­ment where you are play­ing out­side,” she said. “It was a great fa­cil­ity, right by the ocean, and there was no cover, you were play­ing right un­der­neath the sun in the hot temps.”

Team Canada’s gold medal game against the United States was a close one.

“It was a nerve-wrack­ing game, we kept get­ting penal­ties and penal­ties and penal­ties through­out the sec­ond pe­riod and be­cause of this there were only so many of us on the floor run­ning,” Stuck­less said. “I kept say­ing we can’t keep this up but any­way, we even­tu­ally got through it.

“And af­ter we scored a goal to­ward the end of the third, I kept say­ing we’ve just gotta clear the zone, keep them out of our zone. It was nerve wrack­ing, def­i­nitely, and we had a 2-1 fi­nal score.”

Stuck­less says the trip was the ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time and she was hon­oured to be wear­ing the Maple Leaf in an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

“I ac­tu­ally had an emo­tional mo­ment af­ter we won be­cause I never thought I’d be rep­re­sent­ing my coun­try and bring­ing home a World cham­pi­onship,” Stuck­less said. “I’m very proud of my team and I’m so grate­ful I got to play with such an amaz­ing, tal­ented and fun group of ladies. It’s some­thing I’ll not soon for­get.”

She rec­om­mends ball hockey to any­one who is in­ter­ested, es­pe­cially women.

“I rec­om­mend play­ing ball hockey to any­body. It’s such an op­por­tu­nity and so much fun,” Stuck­less said. “I never thought, at this age, that I would get to go to Ber­muda and rep­re­sent my coun­try. Sports brings every­body to­gether.”

“It’s hard to be­lieve that I went from a girl who played at the end of the road with a wooden net with a bit of fish­net on it to get­ting to play for Team Canada.”

-Su­san Stuck­less

“I never thought, at this age, that I would get to go to Ber­muda and rep­re­sent my coun­try. Sports brings every­body to­gether.”

-Su­san Stuck­less

SUB­MIT­TED

Team Canada proudly dis­plays their medals in the out­door, ocean­side rink where the ma­jor­ity of the tour­na­ment took place

SUB­MIT­TED

Su­san Stuck­less in her red Team Canada jersey dis­plays her gold medal and the team tro­phy near the ocean in Ber­muda Stuck­less says since the ocean was so close to the rink, play­ers would of­ten jump into the wa­ter to cool off af­ter games

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