Ice in His Veins: Nunez Gets Invite to Jacks Training Camp
In Odessa, it's not common for a five year old to say, "Hey, Mom: I want to play hockey." But Jakob Nunez is not your typical West Texan.
"Usually my family is a big baseball and football family," he said. "So, when I said I wanted to play hockey she was, I guess, she was really surprised about it."
Jakob joined the Odessa Junior Jacks organization and things just took off from there.
"He was probably 8 or 9 years old at the time and so it's just been good to see him develop," said Donnie Margettie, the President of Jacks Youth Hockey one of the Jacks assistant coaches. "He left for a few years and went to play for a Dallas All-Star team. He's got a lot of experience."
"When I realized they had changed to this level, it really motivated to make this team here," Nunez said.
Jakob's hard work has put him in prime position for a big future in hockey. He recently joined 85 talented young players in Michigan for the Jackalopes tryout camp and emerged as one of 26 invited to training camp.
"It doesn't mean you have a spot on the team, but it means you are right there to make it," Nunez said with a smile.
"It's going to be a battle in camp," Margettie said. "There are going to be some guys competing for jobs and we want to see these kids work."
"I haven't seen that in a long time, that kind of talent," Nunez shared. "It definitely motivated me. I'm not right there with them…but I want to be."
So now, at 17 years old and a senior in high school, Jakob has a difficult decision: if he pursues hockey, he'll have to drop football at Odessa High. Coming from a pigskin crazy town that can be a lot of pressure.
"A little bit because, you know, all my friends play football so when you say hockey they look at you weird," Nunez said with a laugh. "But, I finally…it came down to it and I want to play hockey."
For now, Jakob has other pressures to worry about: like making the Jackalopes roster and getting himself ready to reach his potential.
"I need to work on my speed and a little bit of stick handling," he said.
"He's got that knack to score, and like I said off the ice he hates to lose and that's what I like about him personally," Margettie said. "Just to see somebody playing from your home town would be amazing. I've talked to several parents that are rooting for him. I think the whole community will be behind him, but at the same time he's still gotta make this team."
"It's really important. I really want to go play college hockey," Nunez said.