Jaden Hewes, who plays center for Weber State hockey, is making a name for himself with the Wildcats.
According to the American Collegiate Hockey Association website, Hewes scored 10 goals in his first 17 games this season.
But let’s go beyond the numbers and get a better idea of who Jaden Hewes is.
An Alaskan native, Hewes said he started playing hockey when he was two years old. He said he got into hockey because his dad was a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers.
“It’s cold all the time,” Hewes said. “You got ice everywhere. So, it’s not too hard to get into it.”
Hewes described what it was like to play hockey in Alaska.
“Everybody you play with is usually in your neighborhood — goes to your school,” Hewes said. “So, every organization is like a tight community.”
Hewes said his favorite hockey memory was when he was 12 or 13 years old. He said when playing in Alaska, you don’t travel out of Alaska to play. You stay there.
His dad and other coaches got the best players from Alaska and created a team called Team AK.
Team AK then went on to Michigan to play in a tournament where they won it all there. That led to the team being invited to the NHL Winter Classic, which was held at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. The team played a game on the ice before the Winter Classic game.
“That’s probably the most insane and grateful moment of hockey for sure,” Hewes said.
When Hewes was 14 years old, he moved from the cold state of Alaska to the desert of Arizona.
Hewes said it took some time for him to adjust to the weather there but didn’t think it was too bad because it was a dry heat.
“I call Arizona home now,” Hewes said. “That’s where all my close friends are. I went to high school there, but I love it. I love Arizona.”
Hewes said he has been traveling around North America to play hockey and has played in the Tier One Elite Hockey League.
When he was 14 years old, he played in Utah for the West Coast Renegades. Then, when he was 15 years old, he went to Michigan. The following year, he was in Nashville. Then, Hewes was in Dallas when he was 17 years old. He then went to different places around Canada while he was 18 years old. Last year, Hewes was in Philadelphia.
While doing that, he would stay with host families. He said that would cost about $400 a month.
“Playing juniors is just super-fast paced, just really competitive,” Hewes said. “Just everybody trying to get to the collegiate level. Everybody has the same goal, so they’re all fighting for it.”
He knew fellow Wildcat teammates Jacob Schneider and Carson Abercrombie from living in Arizona.
Hewes said during the summers he lived with Abercrombie he knew they played at Weber State, but he was not sure if playing juniors was something he wanted to continue doing, so they got in contact with Weber State’s coach.
Now, Hewes is a Weber State Wildcat.
“I’m just happy to be in one spot,” Hewes said. “I’ve been a suitcase all my life, moving around. So, it’s just nice to be in one spot.”
Hewes said he wants to be a firefighter. One reason he gave was that he comes from a military family.
“Everybody. My grandmas, my grandpas, my dad,” Hewes said. “My dad was a big special force guy. I grew up around it. Been around it. And the military really isn’t my thing, but with firefighting, I’m giving back to the country one way or another.”
For now, it is not fighting fires, it’s skating on the ice. Hewes will continue to compete for the Wildcats as they fight towards a national championship.
The Wildcats next play a four-game home stand from Nov. 18 to Nov. 21. These will be the Wildcats’ last games of 2021 until they resume their season in January.