No aim to stop or Stahl

Female hockey player finds solace in sport

by Alanna Grady / Beacon Staff • December 8, 2011

Barbara cateystahl
While the NHL has Marc, Eric, and Jordan Stall, the Emerson club ice hockey team has Catey Stahl, the team’s lone female.
While the NHL has Marc, Eric, and Jordan Stall, the Emerson club ice hockey team has Catey Stahl, the team’s lone female.
When Catey Stahl first started playing hockey at age 12, she did not consider herself a hockey girl.

“All of the guys would say to me, ‘Oh, are you carrying your brother’s bags?’” the sophomore broadcast journalism major said about the Under-14 summer clinics where she got her start. “I was always wearing skirts to the rink and putting on makeup before games. I was a typical middle school girl.”

Years later, Stahl still puts on makeup before she takes to the ice as the lone female on Emerson’s club hockey team. She wears her hair in pigtails with brightly colored elastics and makes sure her

Opponents are aware that she is a girl. While Stahl, a 5-foot-2 native of Somerville, Maine, may not necessarily have the size or manpower that her teammates have, it is her effervescence and ability to laugh at herself that allows her to persevere in a sport that is dominated by men.

After all, Stahl is currently the only female skater on the Emerson club hockey team.

“I know I might come off as a bit ridiculous. One of the first times I ever skated, I went out onto the ice with my skate guards on. I fell down in front of a bunch of guys, and it was really embarrassing. But then one of the coaches said to me, ‘You fell down, and you just got up and smiled and had a good attitude.’ I guess that’s what hockey is in the long run.”

Stahl has already made her mark with the Lions this season. She scored the first goal of the game in the team’s 5-2 victory over the Rhode Island School of Design Nads on Sunday night.
 
And not only was it Stahl’s first goal of her Emerson hockey career, but it was also the first time she skated on the team’s top line.

“It was my first shift of the game,” she said. “I didn’t even know [the puck] went in at first, but it made me want to work harder. How hard I want to play is asking how hard I want to get hit, but I want to show the boys that I can play.”

Jen Stafford, a junior broadcast journalism major and former Emerson hockey player, attested to her former teammate’s dedication to her sport.

“Catey’s a great girl,” Stafford said in an email interview.  “She always comes to practice with a smile on her face and is a very ambitious player who works as hard as she can.”

Stahl’s coach, Misha Spivack, noted that while most girls, and some guys, are tentative with the puck, Stahl isn’t afraid to get physical in games.

“She doesn’t shy away from it,” he said in a phone interview. “She gets into the dirty areas and isn’t afraid to go into the slot or into the corner after the puck.”

Though she played center in high school, Stahl said that being moved to a wing position in college has been a good learning experience.

“It you play a really good game of hockey, everybody is everybody else’s position,” she said.

This closeness with her teammates extends beyond the rink. Even though Stahl said the guys she plays against hit on her more often than they actually hit her, the sophomore said that her teammates have her back — Kyler Schelling in particular.

“Kyler’s always there for me, even when I’m hesitant about going out on the ice,” she said. “He’s my rock.”

Stahl is active off the ice as well. She played lacrosse and tennis and participated in her high school’s student council. She’s particularly interested in baseball and studying photojournalism, specifically in war zones. Last year, Stahl was a Beacon contributer.  And although her interests have grown beyond the rink, she still says that hockey is a game that is meant to be enjoyed.

“Sports and anything physical is a break from Emerson, a break from the world,” Stahl said. “It’s a different mentality. It’s taught me that you can be pretty and tough at the same time.”