Being a hockey defenseman is not a glamour position, but it’s a position North Rockland senior Timothy Hekker has loved from an early age.
This week’s Journal News Rockland Scholar-Athlete of the Week has played defense since he was 5 years old.
“In mites, the coach doesn’t have a game plan but asks who wants to play the position,” Hekker said. “I raised my hand and my dad (Michael) backed me up and said it was a good position. I liked how much the team relies on the defense. You can’t be a winning team without a good defense.”
His father, who played hockey for Nyack and Manhattan College (when it had a club team), was an influence on his hockey career.
“He was the one who put me on skates and taught me the game,” Hekker said. “My dad was a center and wanted me to play defense. He would always give pointers after my games.”
In a self-scouting report, Hekker looks at himself as a defender who tries to produce on offense when he can. He’s a blue-collar player who is willing to throw his body into the play so that the opponent can’t score, relying on a piece of advice from his father.
“Always protect your goalie,” Hekker said. “I believe of all the things that a good defenseman should do, protecting your goalie is their No. 1 priority.”
As of Jan. 26, Hekker has one goal and 17 assists for the season.
He has helped out the North Rockland Youth Hockey Club in Haverstraw since April 2011. Hekker has helped sell raffle tickets at the games, as well as operate the scoreboard. He enjoys teaching kids how to play the game.
“These kids were me 12 years ago,” Hekker said. “The United States is not a popular hockey country and I love seeing these kids having the time of their life. Half the time they’re falling down, and half the time their butts are on the ice. I take a lot of pride in watching these kids constantly get better.”
One thing Hekker does know for sure is that hockey will remain a part of his life in someway; be it in a men’s league, or teaching his future children.
Hekker will look to take his 95 GPA to RPI, Northeastern or Boston University. He wants to study engineering with a concentration in mechanical engineering. To continue his hockey career, he would like to play on a college club team.