18-year-old Isaac Espinosa currently leads the Valley Jr. Warriors Eastern Hockey League Premier team in points with 9 goals and 13 assists for a total of 22 points in 27 games played.
The California native picked up the sport at age ten when he was exposed to a stick-time at a local rink.
“I was watching it, telling my dad that’s what I want to do. I ended up having my birthday there because I couldn’t get the chance to go back to the rink until then, and for my birthday I got a week learn to play hockey lesson which started the very next day,” Espinosa said.
After only a few short months of playing, Espinosa made the Capital Thunder travel team out of Roseville, California. In fact, Capital Thunder is the only other team Espinosa has played on other than the Valley Jr. Warriors.
Along with his other two Californian teammates, Espinosa has noticed some differences between how the sport is played here in Massachusetts compared to out in California. He says the commitment is much more serious in New England compared to California where many players don’t consider hockey their main sport.
As far as his personal style of play, Espinosa is a strong contributor when it comes to passing in the offensive zone, he also stays strong on the puck with an ability to get the puck out of the corners.
Espinosa says his long term goals include ultimately playing in Europe, specifically Germany where part of his family is from. He also has aspirations of playing some type of college hockey as a first step out of juniors.
Not only does Espinosa currently lead the team in points, but he also has a strong play-making ability.
“My favorite part of playing is the speed of the game, the rush, the excitement and the physicality. I can’t really say which part of it is my favorite because I love it all. Honestly I feel like ice hockey is my own little world detached from the real one and I can make it however I want it to be. One of my decisions has the possibility to change how the rest of the game plays, I like that kind of power in my hands,” Espinosa said.
The team is on break for the holidays with play resuming Saturday January 6 at home against the Wolves for a 4:40 pm puck drop.