Hockey is a game of never say die and that has been Noah Aceto’s biggest lesson in the sport so far.
At 12-years-old, the Prince Rupert Middle School student has now been playing hockey for eight years and has learned that simple, yet profound principle.
“I’m not going to win every time and it’s not always going to go your way,” Noah said before playing a doubleheader on Saturday.
He is in his second and final year with the Peewee Rep Seawolves, and is enjoying a good season for the team, which is 11-1 (excluding Terrace outcome), with one game to play in the regular season.
Noah started hockey at age four, after his parents put him in the sport to try it out. They were taking him to the arena to teach him to public skate anyway, so the idea was he might as well learn it while playing hockey. Like most hockey kids, he didn’t choose the sport at first but eventually a passion for the game grew.
“What I love about being on the ice is that you’re always moving. You’re not just standing still and you always get to be with your teammates,” he said.
The Seawolves are coached by Noah’s father, Vince Aceto. What makes Noah special as a hockey player is his ability to be a team player.
“He’s not an overly aggressive individual but he does put other people’s feelings and their play often before his own. He’s never been a selfish one,” Vince said.
Noah was part of the Pacific Rim Hockey Academy at PRMS this year, so until the program ended just a couple weeks ago, he was on the ice five or six times a week. Now, all of his focus is on the Seawolves and getting them back to provincials.
His hockey highlight so far was last March, when the Peewees made it to provincials in North Okanagan. The team returned with a fifth-place finish but Noah is hoping they can do even better this year.
Noah brings a calming influence to the locker room, which is essential.
“He brings a good attitude, a gentle nature and he’s calming. You need the rambunctious one, you need the loud one but at the same time, you need that calmer guy too. He’s quiet, but hardworking. He never quits,” Vince said.
He is his teammates’ biggest fan and willing to help them out any way he can.
“Over the years whenever people wanted to play certain positions, rather than being asked or told to, he’s often stepped up and taken that alternate position himself,” Vince said.
It’s not just the things that are seen, but the coach said he also does things in the background that people don’t always notice.
While Noah has a lot of years left to decide, he isn’t sure how far he wants to take his favourite sport, but he says probably just after high school and maybe in college.
There are plenty of opportunities for both boys and girls to take advantage of different scholarships to pursue sport as long as they can, but Noah’s dad just wants him to be able to play as long as he enjoys it.
“Time will tell down the road where he’s going to be in the game if he continues. Hopefully he can take it as far as he wants to,” Vince said.
At the end of the day, kids play organized hockey for the love of the sport and that’s why Noah enjoys it.
“It’s a fast-paced sport, it’s fun, competitive and it’s a good workout,” he said simply.
Noah, who wears number nine on the ice, has some advice for any younger kid thinking about starting hockey, and it’s the same lesson he himself has been learning.
“Never give up, just keep on trying.”