An Okotoks Junior A Oiler’s bulldog-like tenaciousness has helped earn him a scholarship to a top U.S. school. Jesse Hudkins, a six-foot-one, 200-pound defenceman, has accepted a scholarship with Yale University for the 2009-10 season after losing an opportunity to attend another Ivy League school, Princeton.
“It was disappointing,” Hudkins said, who was turned down by Princeton because he does not speak a second language. “I thought it was a go for a few months. This is a great opportunity, I am really excited about it.”
Hudkins tried out for the Yale Bulldogs assistant coach Kyle Wallack this July in Calgary.
“It was just a one ice-time deal and I guess he liked what he saw,” Hudkins said.
While Hudkins is a rugged defenceman with a scoring touch, you don’t go to Yale just because you have a hard shot from the point — you have to practically be able to explain the physics about the speed and trajectory of the puck coming off the stick.
Hudkins scored a whopping 1,900 on the Student Aptitude Tests out of 2,400 — Ivy League material.
The Central Memorial High School graduate said he’s always been able to combine hitting the books with playing hockey. He plans to take environmental engineering at the elite school in New Haven, Conn.
“It’s someone who engineer projects to better our effects on the environment,” Hudkins said. “I read a few books, (most notably) A Short History of Progress that changed my perspective on things on how we impact the world and what we are doing.”
Hudkins expects to be used on the blueline for the Bulldogs. So far this season he has been on defence exclusively for the Oilers but last season saw a lot of time at forward when the team had a plethora of talented defencemen.
“I will be a defenceman at Yale,” Hudkins said. “He (Wallack) liked the way I was able to jump up into the play and then go back and play defence.”
Oilers coach Dan MacDonald feels Hudkins benefited from playing forward for part of last year, and he is a force from the blueline offensively for Okotoks this season.
He’s proud of the third-year Oiler.
“This isn’t just another college — this is Yale, one of the top schools in North America, they have a few more presidents than Princeton,” MacDonald said. “It’s a real feather in his cap.”
He said Hudkins is a solid person who is dedicated to whatever he does.
Hudkins stressed he will be busy as he combines playing NCAA# Division I hockey (the Bulldogs play in the Eastern College Athletic Conference) with studying at a school that has produced three U.S. presidents (William Taft, George H. Bush and George W. Bush). A fact that doesn’t intimidate him. “I don’t plan to be the president,” he said with a laugh.
By Bruce Campbell
The Western Wheel