Bronkhorstspruit’s Jack Valadas plays ice hockey for SA – Ridge Times
Local ice hockey player Jack Valadas (37) is part of the South African ice hockey team which competed at the Grand West Ice Station in the World Ice Hockey Division 3B Championship in Cap from March 13 to 18.
He has been playing ice hockey for 25 years since 1996.
Aged just 12, he represented South Africa in Regensburg, Germany in 1997.
“It was my first South African team and since then it has always been more than a sport for me,” Valadas said.
The highlights of his career so far are captaining the South African men’s team and also being South Africa’s MVP in Luxembourg.
Besides playing for the SA senior men’s team, he also currently plays for the Wildcats in the local league.
Valadas has competed in many countries, but one goal on his list is to be able to compete in the Olympics.
He won over 100 medals in his career and the memory of the massive crowds supporting the teams at the Regensburg open-air ice rink is etched in his mind.
“Being a young child in South Africa, I had never seen anything like this before,” he added.
Valadas received his national colors for senior men in 2002 when he was just 17, and it was just the start of his lifelong dream.
“Ice hockey is an intense, fast-paced, high-speed, high-adrenaline sport that still requires a lot of small skills to master.
“It is ranked as the third hardest sport in the world to master.
“You have to be resilient and passionate, and you have to be able to think quickly while remaining calm,” Valadas said.
He competed at the Grand West Ice Station in the 3B Division Ice Hockey World Championship in Cape Town from March 13-18.
“We usually start preparing for the world championships by increasing our ice time, training four times a week and spending time in gym sessions that involve weight training, as well as increasing our cardio,” he said of the preparation process.
His biggest mentor and inspiration is his father who supported him and taught him everything he knows.
“It was my father who introduced me to the game. First to Portuguese hockey, where I started, then to ice hockey. He also taught me how to skate,” Valadas said.
Being on the ice is something he is passionate about.
“Nothing else matters when I play ice hockey,” he said.
His sportsmanship can be seen inside the rink and speaks volumes about his love for the sport.
“I think I’m a very athletic person and a good competitor.
“It’s euphoric, there are no words to describe winning a gold medal at the world championships, you’ll just have to work hard and win one for yourself to feel that feeling,” he said.