The voice of Jacob Carey down the phone line would have you thinking you’re chatting to a 20-year-old.
The fact he’s leaving his home in Christchurch to go and live in Canada, might have you thinking he’s 25.
But this kid from down south is just 13.
Age hasn’t stopped him. He’s made grades far above his years, playing for the Canterbury U15s and U18s.
And he’s not letting age stand in the way of taking his hockey talents overseas.
Jacob is heading to the A21 Academy in Windsor, Canada, where he’ll spend 10 months training, playing, and attending school, to try and make a career for himself in hockey.
He’ll be on the ice every day, with the hope that at the end of his tenure, he can get drafted to a major junior league.
Perhaps not something he thought he’d ever be chasing when he started playing hockey at the age of seven – thanks to his brother.
“I think I saw my brother playing and just sort of followed on from him,” he said.
“I liked the pace of it. It’s fast like not many other team sports are. It’s high pace, very physical, lots of skill, and it’s a good team environment to be in.”
As a centre, he has a high work ethic, putting in time at both ends of the ice. He also lists his shooting as a big skill, and that might be why he’s thinking of moving out onto the wing, presumably to shoot more pucks.
He’ll have his work cut out for him though, the A21 Academy U18 AAA team won the PSHF Championship this year, and play anywhere between 45-55 games a season.
Right on the border of Detroit, and four hours out from Toronto, the academy also boasts a junior varsity U16 AAA team, and has a large network of NHL, NCAA, and CHL scouts.
And while it’s becoming increasingly popular for Kiwis to head over to academies in Canada to play and train, Jacob’s opportunity came about a different way – via an invitational team from Slovakia.
“There was this team based in Slovakia that my mate had connections with, they were heading up there over Christmas to play in a tournament,” Jacob said.
“I went over, and actually didn’t meet the team until the first game day in Canada.”
“While there, I met a family that offered to take me in for a year, and I’d play hockey at the academy.”
They do say it’s all who you know!
Now, Jacob, at just 13 years old, will pack his bags and attempt to do what every young hockey player dreams of doing – turning it into a career.
“It’s definitely something I want to do later in life, hopefully making it somewhere where I can get paid to play one day.”
It’ll be a tough ask, especially being so far away from home, but hopefully his young age, youthful exuberance, and determination put him in front of the right people, at the right time. And then who knows what might happen!
GET TO KNOW JACOB
FAVOURITE NHL TEAM AND FAVOURITE PLAYER?
Calgary Flames and Johnny Gaudreau.
FAVOURITE SUPERHERO AND WHY?
Batman. Because I like the intro song ha!
IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH THREE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD (LIVING OR DEAD) WHO WOULD YOU PICK?
Probably a few older hockey players like Steve Yzerman and Gordie Howe, and maybe Sidney Crosby.
IF YOU COULD EAT ONE MEAL FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Something big, like spaghetti bolognaise ha! I’d get sick of Maccas…
WHAT KIND OF STICK AND SKATES DO YOU USE?
CCM trigger 3 stick and Bauer Supreme 2S skates
Written by Sam Hewat