A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Burrell’s Ryan Scheftic
Monday, March 6, 2023 | 9:00 AM
After missing by two points last year, the Burrell hockey team is ready to take on the playoffs this season.
The Bucs go into the first round with a record of 8-5. Contributing to the success this season is senior defenseman Ryan Scheftic.
“This year, the team understood that we had to be disciplined,” Scheftic said. “We showed up to every game ready to fight and win. We learned that every game matters, and this year was a little easier than last. The team really bonded together. Riley Wislie and Caden Lindo-Canfield are great leaders, and Coach Luke (Kopchak) is amazing. Knowing each other and being at the rink a lot really helped us.”
Ryan is the son of Liz and Steve Scheftic. He is the captain of the hockey team and a PIHL All-Star in 2020, pitcher for the baseball team and a member of the National Honor Society. He also has been a dedicated four-year member of the soccer team, a member of the Interact Club, student government and FBLA. He has been playing hockey for 13 years.
“I started because my dad liked it,” Scheftic said. “He had Penguins tickets and he took me to ‘stick time,’ and we often played street hockey together.”
Scheftic took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:
What did the offseason look like for the team?
We had 6-8 practices in July, had all of August off and then came back to go over system stuff and legs. We only get one practice a week with the availability of the ice. But most of the guys play amateur hockey and get their conditioning there. We are kind of expected to do it on our own.
As a defenseman, how important is scoring to you?
Having good defense is really important in order to create offense. I am disappointed with my personal scoring statistic of no goals, but I show up every game to keep everything together. I want to make sure that the team is together, and I want to try and score more.
How do you believe baseball season will go for you?
I feel good about it. This particular group has been playing together since we were 8 years old. I’m excited to play together, and, even though we moved down a division, we will still play tough games. We should be able to compete for the section championship and make playoffs.
What’s the transition like in between hockey and baseball?
We have baseball workouts once or twice a week. The hardest thing is getting to practice. Hockey is much later in the day whereas baseball is right after school. Hockey really isn’t school-affiliated, so that really helps with the timing.
Tell me a little bit about travel hockey and your experience there.
I play for the Armstrong Arrows national-bound team. I am still a defenseman there, and we practice two times a week. We have the playoffs and district under our belt. We had a great season, and we are 60th in the country and play high-caliber teams. It’s a lot of fun, and we mainly travel in the Pittsburgh area with three or four out-of-area tournaments.
Burrell’s hockey team is a co-op. Tell me a little bit about the team chemistry.
We have a good mix of kids from Valley, Penn Hills, Highlands, Riverview and Burrell. A lot of the guys play together outside of Burrell hockey and work together a lot. We all have known each other for years playing amateur hockey together. This year, we had a Christmas party, did a gift exchange and bonded as a team. Everyone is returning members of the team minus the freshmen, but we still are bonded.
Tell me a little bit about your fellow seniors and what makes you all stand out.
Connor Kariotis only started in eighth grade and has progressed so much from starting then to now. He is always working hard and doing up-downs in his garage to get ready. Caden Lindo-Canfield is the best player, having the most points and being an amazing leader. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate. Riley Wislie brings calmness. He keeps the boys calm in tough situations and is always ready to go for his next shift and truly believes in us. And Issac Crowe brings the energy and is amazing to have on the bench.
How do you think the team will do in the playoffs and what do you think you need to do to ensure that the playoff run is long and successful?
I think we will do extremely well. Teams peak at different times and, if we would’ve won a little more, we would’ve had a better seed, but regardless, we are ready to go and excited. I think we should make it to the championship and have great potential to win. I think we need to show up and focus on all of our shifts and practices leading up to the game. We have to focus on little details, too. We have to take it one step at a time, and we will be great.
How do you feel about your final season with Burrell coming to an end?
It’s so weird. I still don’t feel like it’s ending, but I feel that we can definitely play three more games. I like our chances of winning the entire thing. So I really haven’t started to think about it.
Who do you believe was your toughest opponent this season?
I don’t think there is just one. It’s a tough choice between Deer Lakes, Bishop Canevin and Ringgold. I think that if we are on our top game, no one can beat us.
Is there any hockey player that you look up to?
There are a ton of great players, but recently I’ve been loving Kris Letang with how patient he is and how well he can run a power play. Watching any NHL game and your position being played improves my hockey IQ.
What are your future plans?
I plan to attend a four-year university to study engineering. I have not decided if hockey or baseball are in the plans; however, I am more focused on baseball. That’s a big factor when looking at colleges, and it’s what makes it tough to make a decision.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to try hockey as their sport?
Don’t be scared if you can’t skate. Go to public skates or learn to skate. Just don’t be afraid of what you can’t, or what you think you can’t, do. It’s another thing to have fun with and enjoy with your friends. Not all hockey has to be on skates. There’s always street hockey.
What do you believe is your biggest strength?
I personally love talking to the team. I’d say my strengths are leadership and bringing everyone together. That’s what my job is. Coach Luke, Riley and Caden do a great job of that as well. Communication is the biggest part of my game.
What advice would you like to leave with your teammates?
Enjoy this time playing and being with your teammates. You never know when it will end. You only have so much time for hockey in your life. Leave everything out on the ice, and be thankful for your teammates and coaches.
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