WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The very first time Emily Bubla played goalie she pitched a shutout.
That was when she was eight years old and a Mite. She hasn’t looked back.
The Wisconsin Rapids senior has been a starter in the net for the Point/Rapids girls hockey team for four years and is gearing up for the WIAA playoffs which start Thursday.
“After my first game as a Mite, I decided I wanted to be a goalie,” Bubla said. “I like it. It’s not an easy position, but it’s fun.”
Red Panthers coach Rachel Graves has coached Bubla for three years and is impressed with how she has improved as a goalie.
“This year is by far her best season,” Graves said. “She’s working and contributing to what we have going on here. She’s not satisfied and is always trying to get better.”
She has a .910 save percentage and one shutout this season.
Bubla plans on attending Concordia University in Mequon and wants to be pharmacist.
“I’m going to try out for the women’s hockey team and if I make it great, if not, it will be ok, too,” Bubla said.
What is the toughest aspect of being a goalie? I think learning how to be in the right position at the right time to stop a puck was the hardest thing for me to learn. You just have to be in the net a lot to get a feel for where the offensive players are going to shoot. It takes a lot of practice. I’m still working on getting better at stopping high shots. Those are the hardest for me to stop.
How do you like the Red Panthers’ chances in the playoffs as the No. 5 seed in your sectional? We played really well on Saturday (against the Lakeshore Lightning). If we continue to play well, I think we can do well. We lost to Tomahawk twice this season, but it’s tough to beat someone three times.
How cool is it that your stepdad runs a hockey web site? It’s pretty cool. He knows a lot about hockey, especially from a statistical standpoint. He also writes a lot about the Red Panthers, which is cool. He didn’t start playing hockey until he was 30 years old, but he knows a lot about it now.
How does golf and track help you for hockey? Track keeps me in shape for hockey, which is good. And golf involves a lot of hand-eye coordination and so does being a goalie. It’s harder to hit a golf ball straight than people think, and it’s more difficult to stop a puck than people think, as well.
Do you play in any fall or spring hockey leagues? In the past I’ve played in the Wisconsin Elite Hockey League, but they didn’t run one this fall. I also go to camps in the summer. I’ve gone to the Midwest Exposure camp in Green Bay, which has a lot of college coaches at it and I go to Goalies Inc. in Oshkosh every year.
The Red Panthers are no longer in the Great Northern Conference. Do you miss being in a league? I do because even though we play a lot of those teams, we can’t win any all-conference honors. It’s also good because we can schedule tougher teams and that makes us better when we’re challenged.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people: I’ve played violin since fifth grade. It was the first chance I had to play a musical instrument and I was excited to try it. I still like it, it’s so different than sports which is kind of nice.
What are some things you want to accomplish by the time you’re 30? Graduate college and get married. Hopefully I’ll be a pharmacist by then, too.
Mark Massoglia can be reached at 715-423-7200, ext. 6736. Follow him on Twitter @markmazzy.
School: Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln
Sports: Golf, hockey, track
Family: Dad, Job Bubla; stepdad, Mike Turzinski; mom, Kelli Turzinski
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite TV show: “Awkward”
Favorite athlete: Brian Elliott
Favorite team: Detroit Red Wings
Breakfast, lunch or dinner: Breakfast
Android or iPhone: Android
Coke or Pepsi: Coke
Spring, summer, fall or winter: Fall