Hiya folks, My name is Jake and I’m one of the newest contributors to Beer League Talk! I’m here today to introduce myself and tell you all you need to know about me.

First things first, I’ve been a hockey fan for the better part of the last three or so years. I grew up as a baseball player and never watched much hockey growing up. I went to games sporadically over the years when my dad would get tickets from work, but coming from a baseball-loving family, it was rare. High School came around and my friends were huge Ducks fans and got me to watch a few games with them and here we are three years later! The great thing about being a hockey fan in California is that hockey is lowkey enough here that it’s super easy to get into. As much as it pains me to say as a Ducks fan, LA’s two Cup runs really helped bring more relevance to our market. California as a whole is blessed with not being a serious market like Toronto, Montreal, etc. where there’s immense pressure for the product on the ice to be perfect 110% of the time. Everything’s chill and mellow and I mean when it’s hot enough, you can show up to the rink wearing shorts and a t-shirt and no one will judge you. I wouldn’t say we’re lucky to have things like we do because its rare for California to be in the limelight nowadays but the state has embraced hockey at all levels and has grown the game way bigger than I think anyone could have imagined. It’s truly a beautiful thing if I do say so myself.

Now that I’m done rambling about a bunch of nonsense, it’s time to get into actually introducing myself! I am a resident of Southern California. My favorite teams are the Anaheim Ducks and the Colorado Avalanche. Most of my time is spent on Twitter where I post about everything and anything from my favorite band, Ghost, to going out of my way to antagonize Predators fans with poorly made banner memes. I’m pretty sure their fanbase has vilified me and their social media people groan every time they see my handle in their mentions. I enjoy drinking; whiskey is my go-to. I am a first-year goalie, currently coming off my first year of organized hockey ever. I play for Los Machetes based out of Riverside, CA. We won our first championship in our first year as “Los Machetes” (the core group of guys played last year under a rink given name).  You can follow our Instagram, @LosMachetesHC (shameless plug) and stay in the know about everything the only team to go 3-11 and win the championship is up to (Note: the validity of this stat is questionable and most likely false).

Like I said previously, I am a goalie. The goalie I look up to most is Braden Holtby. It’s probably super obvious with my number being 71. I didn’t want to wear his exact number so I just added a “1” since it’s a typical goalie number. Even though he doesn’t play for either of the teams I root for, I was super happy to see him finally get over the hump and win a Cup. I wouldn’t say it was an inspiring moment for me personally but as someone who’s always rooting for him to do well, you can’t help but feel good for them when they succeed. He’s also a really humble person so it easy to stan a player like him because he’s just all around super likable.

Personally, this first year as a beer leaguer has been a hell of a journey. One day I decided to start saving my money and pursue goaltending as any normal person would do on a whim. From there, I started taking private lessons last January and pretty much had to learn to skate from scratch. Honestly, as much as it has been a pain in the ass at times, I’m thankful that I work with a coach that’s really determined to make sure I can skate perfectly, more than trying to just work on a bunch of different things all at once. It makes it easy to build that muscle memory and become proficient in certain parts of my game.

Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better first year to ease me into playing on a consistent basis. I got lit up a few times and we didn’t win many games but due to our rink only having two rookie teams, we won when it mattered most and took home a championship in the only playoff game we had to play. At the end of the day, I learned a lot about myself as an athlete and as a person. I’ve been an athlete since I was 6 and competed in a few different sports over the years and nothing coming close to what hockey has done for me. I could go on and on but I don’t want to bore you guys to death, but that’s really all that’s worth sharing. I’m excited to be a contributor to this blog and look forward to sharing my Beer League experiences!