Just one of the guys
Ashland High hockey player Tiffany Schoonover steps out of the women&
s locker room at the RRRink in Medford looking like the type of chick who&
s not afraid to check you into the boards.
Dressed in a T-shirt, camouflage pants (which she claims she never wears) and a belt made out of an old car seat belt, Schoonover reeks of toughness. That persona comes to life on the ice, where Schoonover spends her weekends pummeling opposing players &
boys and girls &
often finishing games as one of the Grizzlies&
leading scorers and assist-makers.
I like the excitement and the adrenaline rush,&
Schoonover said after practice with the Ashland High team Wednesday night. &
s kind of cool being this hard-core chick.&
Playing center and leading the 3-0 Grizzlies as captain this year, Schoonover said she prefers playing coed hockey to just playing with other girls.
Schoonover said of skating head-to-head against boys her own age. &
s more heads up, and you get to check. You can&
t check in girls&
However, the Ashland junior is not the only female to play for the Grizzlies this year. Of the 18 hockey players for Ashland, five of them are girls. Emily McLaughlin, Schoonover&
s left wing, is co-assistant captain of the team.
While Schoonover said most of her friends are guys on the football team, sports are more about thrills than a matter of competing with guys as a girl. While the 5-foot-5, 125-pound hockey star likes the aggressive physical aspect of the sport she said she really just likes to play.
Hockey rocks my socks,&
Schoonover wrote in an e-mail, &
and every day is a good day for hockey.&
s love affair with hockey began about seven years ago when Scott McLean &
an instructor at the Burgraff hockey school in North Dakota &
taught her how to skate.
— Schoonover — gets in position during a game at the RRRink in Medford. Schoonover — plays center for the Grizzlies, who are off to a perfect 3-0 start this — season.
I used to be a really girly-girl,&
Schoonover said. &
I was a ballerina and a gymnast. I just started playing goalie to do something different.&
After she got bored playing in the net, she moved up to defense for a few years. Once she got tired of defense, Schoonover moved to center, where she has excelled for Ashland. Playing for traveling teams with guys, Schoonover said people can be pretty intimidated by her. She has sent boys to the hospital with concussions on more than one occasion.
While everyone on the Ashland team seems quite fond of Schoonover, assistant captain and star defenseman Griff Sollinger said the girls on the Ashland team definitely make things a bit more interesting. Sollinger has been playing with Schoonover the past couple years and said it&
s been a privilege watching her play.
s been a prodigy since day one,&
While she also snowboards and hopes to start rugby soon, Schoonover puts almost all her focus on hockey. That focus has paid off. Schoonover had big shoes to fill after her brother &
Cody Schoonover &
carried the team last year and has filled those shoes nicely while gaining a remarkable reputation as tough-girl on the current Ashland squad.
Now playing hockey for the University of Oregon, Cody has raised the bar for his younger sister &
who hopes to play professionally some day.
Ashland head coach Chris Bonelli, who said he has coached Tiffany on and off for the past decade, said he has seen her develop into a leader as well as a stand-out athlete.
s a team player and a joy to be around,&
Bonelli said. &
She has a future in women&
s hockey if we can get someone to come down here and look at her.&
While Schoonover is as optimistic as her coach, her goals are a little bit more immediate than Bonelli&
s. She hopes to try out for and make the district team in May. While Schoonover would like to eventually play hockey for a Division — or Division — college. Playing for the U.S. national team is not out of the question, she said, and physical therapy is her ideal career path.
Alan Panebaker is a correspondent for the Ashland Daily Tidings. To comment on this article, contact Sports Editor Joe Zavala at 482-3456 ext. 224 or email@example.com.