Senior center Jack Gao began playing hockey when he was eight. In that time he has developed a great love for the game and has been on multiple different teams on various levels.
After taking a break from KO hockey during his junior year, Gao decided to come back and play on the team. He said he really enjoyed the team environment that Head Coach John Hissick fostered and after speaking to other hockey players, he decided to re-join the team.
Gao currently plays on three hockey teams: the Connecticut Chiefs (a junior league team), the U-18 Chinese national team, and the Wyverns. With as much experience as Gao has on the ice, it’s no surprise that he has already made such a large impact on the KO hockey program. In Gao’s first game back, he scored a goal and had an assist in a nail biting 5-4 win over King School.
Coach Hissick described how Gao leads by example, as he always shows up to practice on time with everything ready to go and gives it his all. “He conducts himself in a professional manner,” Coach Hissick said.
He said that Gao’s tremendous hockey IQ helps the team as a whole, and that his experience is very useful in getting the younger players acquainted with high school hockey. “Jack can impact the game in every way,” Coach Hissick said.
His teammates also have high praise for him. “He’s very physical and moves the puck well,” sophomore defender Kyle Frankel said.
Junior forward Shane Dawson also said that Gao is incredibly fast on the ice and has great vision. Dawson also said that Gao has definitely helped out the team’s first line.
Whether it is Coach Hissick or his teammates it seems like the hockey team, and KO at that, are happy that Gao came back to play hockey for KO in his senior year.
“Jack just makes us a better and more well rounded team,” Dawson said.
Gao has high hopes for this year’s hockey team. He believes with the schedule change, as the KO hockey team moved down a division, the team has a legitimate shot to make the postseason.
“My goal for this season is to make the playoffs and chase a championship,” Gao said.
Gao realizes that this goal is going to be challenging, but with senior leadership in addition to high potential from the younger players, he believes that this team has a shot to be good not only in years to come, but also right now.