Valley News Dispatch spotlight athletes: Plum’s David Stonebraker, Freeport’s Cassandra Suran
Report card: Stonebraker leads the Mustangs with 12 points, tallying nine goals and three assists through his first six games. He recently topped the 100-point mark for his career. The team captain, he is coached by his father, David.
How long have your played for your dad?
I started playing ice hockey at 6 years old as a mini mite for the Allegheny Badgers. My father was one of the coaches on that team and has been either a head coach or an assistant with most of the teams I’ve played for.
How has that affected your game and what is the experience like?
From a spectator’s standpoint, it may seem fun to play for your father as a coach. There are times that are fun and very enjoyable but there are also situations that are not as easy. My father and I are very close, and we have not allowed the game to ruin our relationship on or off the bench. He is my greatest constructive critic but also my biggest fan.
What was it like reaching the 100-point milestone?
My goal has always been to surpass 100 points but being a part of a winning team has been the main focus throughout my high school career. I am happy to have accomplished this but also realize that much of the credit should go to my teammates both past and present.
How has Plum native R.J. Umberger’s success in the NHL motivated or impacted you?
R.J. Umberger has made an impact on any player in Plum hockey as an example of where you can end up. If he can start here and finish his career as an NHL player, then we should all respect that path and do our best to achieve success also.
Do you have plans on continuing your hockey career next year?
My goal is to play at the highest level of Juniors possible. It is hard for me to think of moving away from my friends and family, but it is also a decision that I have thought about for a long time and want to chase my dream while I can.
What is your favorite hockey movie?
Miracle, by far. There’s no other hockey movie that can compares to it.
How would you describe your style of play?
I would describe myself as a two-way player that is dedicated to both offense and defense. I have always focused my play on being able to put the puck in the net but also be a strong back-checker that helps his team defensively.
Report card: Suran is a defensemen for the Yellowjackets. She is competing with the boys’ team for the second consecutive season. She has two assists, including one on the game-winner in a 4-3, come-from-behind victory over Bishop McCort. Suran also plays soccer and lacrosse.
How did you get started playing hockey?
My dad thought it would be a great idea to get me figure skates. They weren’t working, so we tried hockey skates and just kept it up from there.
Most female players on men’s teams are goalies. How did you come to play on the ice?
Ever since I was little I played on the ice because I had the size to. I wanted to play goalie when I was younger, but I’ve just played center, defense or wing since.
Who else do you play for in the offseason?
I play for the Lady Cyclones 3 on 3 team.
Playing with the boys during the season, does that make it easier to transition back to an all-female league?
When I play with the girls I have to remind myself that there’s no checking; I usually can after the first few shifts.
Do you get treated differently playing with the boys?
My teammates treat me like a little sister. Sometimes players on the other teams target me because I’m a girl, but my teammates stand up for me. Most of the time though they just treat me like another player.
Have you only played in boys leagues?
I have played on guys’ teams for eight years, and on a girls team for the past seven years.
Have you taken any significant hits playing with the guys?
I’ve taken some hits, but nothing I couldn’t get back up and shake off.