Hills local and ice hockey star Jeremy Vasquez is back in Sydney after studying and playing in Canada and the US for several years.
Vasquez has been playing ice hockey since he was eight years, after accompanying one of his Kings Langley primary schoolmates to a training session. “I could not even skate, but someone was willing to teach me and that sparked my interest,” he recalled. “I love challenges and I loved ice hockey from the first day.”
Vasquez, who plays centre or left wing, turns out for Sydney Ice Dogs in the Australian Ice Hockey League, a semi-professional ice hockey league where his international experience and skills, is invaluable. He has represented Australia at the junior level and the Under 20 men’s and was spotted by a Canadian scout during one of his junior international matches.
“My current hockey goal is to make the national men’s ice hockey team which will compete in the IIHF World Championships in Croatia next April,” the Stanhope Gardens local said. “The Australian ice hockey circuit includes two Sydney teams, a Newcastle team, two Melbourne teams and teams from Canberra, Perth and Adelaide. Unfortunately, this year’s national championship was disrupted by Covid-19 and hopefully we can restart next April.”
When I first interviewed him, Vasquez was a teenager studying at Terra Sancta College (now St John Paul II) and he dreamt of turning professional and playing in the highly-lucrative and world standard North American leagues.
He left Sydney aged 13 to study and play at the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Ottawa where temperatures could dip to below 40 C.
“You get used to the cold though the first year was tough for me,” Vasquez said. “The academy is all about ice hockey and not like other schools where there are other sports. I kinda loved the school and the focus on ice hockey because I loved the sport.
“I then moved to Boston and played for the Wizards and Sea Hawks in the American Eastern Hockey League which is a stepping stone to the professional leagues. However, my plans changed when Covid-19 struck, and I literally managed to leave America on the last plane from Dallas to Sydney in March 2020. Yes, I am happy to be back as it’s nice not having snow around!”
For now, Vasquez has put his professional ice hockey dream on hold while he completes his double degree in applied finance and professional accounting at Macquarie University.
“If the opportunity to play professional comes up after I finish uni, I will definitely consider it,” Vasquez said. “I am focusing on uni at the moment.”