Athlete of the Month: Kate Sohn, Girls Ice Hockey

photo courtesy of Kate Sohn

Ice hockey may be a relatively new sport for Kate Sohn ’14, but by no means is she involved halfway.

In the weeks leading up to the official start dates for winter sports her freshman year, Sohn practiced swimming with a friend on a weekly basis, and even attended the swim team’s interest meeting. While she did have more of an aquatic background, at the last minute Sohn decided to try ice hockey.

“I always loved to skate, because I used to figure skate, so I thought it would be something that I could try and not have to start from the very beginning,” she said. As many of the girls on the team are either past figure skaters or current field hockey players, having experience in one of these areas is advantageous for newcomers to the team.

Sohn became a starting defenseman on the PHS girls ice hockey team her sophomore year. “I think my motivation [for choosing defense] was [that] I struggle[d] with puck handling, and also [that] I would get more ice time as a defens[ive] player because there were fewer players on defense,” she said. “I also think there was a need on the team at that time for a defens[ive] player who would be there [for a while], because most of [the current defense players] were graduating, so I just took that opportunity.”

In her junior year, Sohn became the head captain of the team, and will lead the team again in the 2013–2014 season. “I think it’s really important to lead by example and to encourage, so those are my primary jobs,” she said. At the end of practices, when the other girls rush off the ice to change out of their sweaty gear and get ready for school, Sohn stays on the ice to clean up the goals and pucks. Her responsibilities also entail managing team bonding, apparel, and psychs.

When not found at the rink for the Little Tigers’ 5:30 a.m. practices or games after school, Sohn spends time there scrimmaging with a younger boys’ weekend league. She and her sister Isabelle Sohn ’16 are the only two girls on the team. Isabelle starting playing about a year after Kate picked up the sport, and the two now play together on both the school and league teams.

“I love playing with [my sister] … She’s always where I need her to be and I think we have some really good teamwork,” said Sohn. Since her sister plays offense, the two are able to coordinate plays with each other on the ice. “It’s helpful to see her up there on the ice [so] I can pass [the puck] up to her, or I know that she’ll crush the net when she needs to.”

The senior’s improved performance comes from time spent practicing her shooting off the ice, watching hockey games, and frequently practicing. After her first two seasons with the school team, she participated in an ice hockey summer camp at Princeton University, where she improved by pushing herself to play with girls of a much higher skill level.

Now a seasoned veteran, Sohn has come to appreciate the aspects of the sport that were once hard for her. “My favorite part about the sport is how  [fast and] aggressive it is. I never really played a team sport before that because [while I played] tennis and swimming, [they] are very individual sports, so it’s fun to be out there and have people pushing each other into the boards and stuff like that. It’s just a very fast-paced game,” she said.

“I definitely want to still play in college,” she added. Although most of her prospective schools do not have hockey teams, she would like to play at the club or local level if possible.

What superpower do you wish you had? Superhuman speed
What are you most looking forward to about winter break? Spending time with my friends [and] skiing.
Where do you think Waldo is? Skating at Rockefeller Center
Favorite movie: Up
Favorite mythical holiday creature?  Jack Frost
Which TV show character’s life do you wish you had? Lily from How I Met Your Mother