ST. JOHN’S, N.L.
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.
“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.”
“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.”