A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Freeport’s Jake Suwan

Sunday, November 27, 2022 | 11:20 AM

The Freeport hockey team is working hard early on in the season, facing three tough losses but quickly battling back to put together a four-game winning streak. Among the talented players on the roster is senior defensemen Jake Suwan.

“The first three games were arguably the hardest games of the year,” Suwan said. “It was a tough start for us, and we knew that they were going to be the best teams in the division. The loss against Kiski brought it to light that we can win, and we’re on a winning streak now.

“Attitude is key. We went in with the attitude that, ‘We (stink),’ but Kiski really picked us up.”

Jake is the son of Sara and Pap Suwan. He is a member of the lacrosse team and is a fan of golf. He also coaches his brother’s hockey team.

“I’ve been playing hockey for 14 years,” said Suwan. “I got into it because my parents wanted me to learn some sort of sport. I started out ice skating and took lessons. One of my dad’s friends said to sign me up for hockey, and it kind of started there.”

Suwan took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down and answer some questions for a senior spotlight Q&A:

What did the team do in the offseason to prepare for this season?

Every year, we do offseason training, condition on the track, go over stick drills, do all sorts of workouts and we even had some ice time in the summer. It’s really a lot of conditioning.

You’ve already scored five goals in seven games this season. Three of them were on the power play. What do you think is the key to having success on a power play?

I think the chemistry between the guys on the power play with you is crucial. We dedicate 20 minutes of practice time to do power plays. It builds bonds with the guys because we know each other and what we do. We’ve always had a really good power play, and this year is no different.

What lessons has the team learned from making the playoffs in 2021 and falling short of that goal last year?

In the 2021 season, we had a huge roster with a lot of seniors who knew how to win. We learned that it takes more than a lot of guys on the roster to make the playoffs. Last year, we played with a smaller roster, and we fought as hard as we could but, again, we learned that it’s more about the effort on the ice as opposed to having a huge team.

Is there a specific hockey player you look up to?

Dylan Larkin (of the Detroit Red Wings). Whenever I was young and he played for (Michigan), I really looked up to him. When I was younger, I studied his game and speed on the ice. Even now as a defensemen, I still try to model his speed and effectiveness on the ice.

What is your favorite memory from hockey?

Last year, at Beaver, we were missing half the roster and went with only seven guys and one goalie, and we came out with a 3-0 win with only two guys on the bench that entire night.

Tell me a little bit about your fellow seniors and the leadership all of you bring to the team.

We’ve played together for years. We learned how much the seniors and upperclassmen really nurture and raise the underclassmen. We’ve now gotten to experience that, and we want to continue that this year. We want the underclassmen to carry on that tradition.

What is one piece of advice you have for anyone wanting to try hockey as a sport?

You are going to fall and mess up, but it’s not the end of the world. You have to get back up. I used to fake being hurt because I didn’t want to play, but in retrospect, I’m glad my parents and even myself pushed me to be my best and never give up.

What are your future plans? Is hockey included?

I plan to attend a four-year college or university to major in cyber science and computer science. I want to play hockey, hopefully, for fun. I don’t want to go to the NHL. I want to have four more years to have fun and enjoy it before adulthood comes.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to leave with your teammates?

Don’t let the team down. When I’m gone, I expect to have a good team and expect the leadership to continue. Continue the tradition and work hard for everything. Abide by our team motto: We will not be outworked. I want that to continue for the years to come.

What is one thing people may not know about you?

I’m really into filming media. If I didn’t play hockey, I’d be filming and editing highlight reels for the team. I’m really into that and computer-related things.


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