Taking into account that solid career that she has assembled in Western Canada, playing for the likes of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and the CWHL’s Calgary Inferno, Danny Stone is engaging in an exciting, new chapter that shall take her overseas. Suiting up for the Sundsvall Wildcats in Sweden’s Riksserien, Stone’s strong playmaking abilities and smooth scoring touch is poised to help the club improve on its one-win season.
Having already taken one point from AIK, who went undefeated last season, there is already a sense of momentum building as the fans at Sundsvall Energi Arena can expect a much better standard of play. Considering that Swedish national team member and former Quinnipiac Bobcats star Erica Uden-Johansson has also signed with Sundsvall (which is also the host city for the 2015 Four Nations Cup), it provides the club with another strong talent to complement Stone.
One of the benefits of playing in the Swedish league is the fact that flights and living expenses are covered, enabling elite athletes such as Stone to focus on hockey rather than struggle over employment opportunities. As a member of the Inferno, Stone made ends meet by working as a substitute educational assistant at the Tsuu T’ina First Nation reserve.
Considering that the trend of Canadian women’s hockey talent playing in Europe has grown in recent years, the result is a great opportunity for Canada’s finest to serve as ambassadors for the game. For a player such as Stone, she also builds on the legacy of fellow Canadians such as Bailey Bram and Jennifer Wakefield (also CWHL stars) that have competed in Sweden.
“I wanted to play overseas at some point in my life and this seemed like the right time. I wanted to be able to travel the world and hockey has given me the opportunity to do exactly that.”
During Stone’s final two seasons with the Huskies, she registered back-to-back 25 point seasons, success that continued with the Calgary Inferno. In her rookie season, she set franchise records for most points by a rookie and became the first player to log 25 points in one season.
Although Brittany Esposito tied her rookie record the following season, while Rebecca Johnston eclipsed Stone’s signle-season scoring mark, en route to the Angela James Bowl, there is no question that Stone was an essential figure in the team’s offensive surge.
Such talent should translate well into an expanded season in Sweden, where 36 games constitute the regular season schedule, compared to just 24 in the CWHL. Although the larger ice surface has presented Stone’s biggest transition to the game, it is a minor obstacle that shall be quickly overcome.
“The ice surface in Europe is huge. It took me a couple weeks to adjust to the size difference. There is also a very big age gap in the league, which leads to a wide variety of skills caused by experience.”
Stone is not the only Canadian suiting up for Sundsvall this season. Joined by Inferno teammate Tegan Schroeder, it is a close friend that should help contribute to a Swedish experience that is destined to be a cherished one. Unlike Stone, who excels at the forward position, Schroeder can be found among Sundsvall’s blueline corps.
A blueliner raised in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, Schroeder played at the NCAA level for Wayne State and Clarkson, and was once a teammate of the late Mandi Schwartz with Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. As a side note, Schroeder and Stone also played prominent roles as hockey ambassadors during this recent offseason. Both were joined by Natalie Spooner in a July 11 event in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, as the Prairie Toyota Clarkson Cup tour made a stop there.
Proudly representing not just Canada, but their home province of Saskatchewan, the two also scored goals in their debut game for Sundsvall. Coincidentally, they are not the only hockey representation from Saskatchewan that has made an impression in Sweden. During the Riksserien preseason, the Regina Cougars varsity women’s hockey team from Canadian Interuniversity Sport participated in a three game exhibition, including a contest against Sundsvall.
“Everything has been a great experience so far. From everyone being so nice and welcoming to being back on the ice every single day.
My favourite moment so far has to have been the first game of the season. I scored my first goal then shortly after so did Tegan! We played together the past two years in Calgary so it was nice to come over here with someone I know and really fun for both of us to score our first goals, both in the first game!
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”