Photo by Chung Chow
Jarred Wong took his first strides toward hockey in 2006. A decade later he was enthusiastically sharing his love for the game.
As a curious six-year-old boy, Richmond’s Wong was introduced to “Canada’s game” watching TV. Then when his cousin starting playing, he followed suit. Today he’s giving back to a game that’s brought him much joy as a volunteer coach in the Richmond Jets minor hockey association.
“Back in 2016 an email was sent out to the team asking for volunteers,” he recalls. “I thought it would be cool to pass on some skills to new players, and to stay involved with hockey after my final season playing. Coaching is still something that I very much enjoy.”
Initially, he signed on to coach Hockey’s Canada’s First Shift program and subsequently volunteered for the follow-up program, the Second Shift. Then in 2017, he completed a Hockey Canada coach clinic and became a fully-qualified coach. He’s been rostered as an assistant since and has coached Initiation hockey (both Hockey 1 and Intro to Hockey).
Studying life sciences at Simon Fraser University, with an eye on a career in medicine, Wong delights is seeing the progress of his young proteges.
“Seeing the progress made from the beginning of the program to the end impresses me the most,” he says. “Every player shows great improvement in their skills; seeing their passion and eagerness for the game brings me back every day.”
Ever-positive, Wong tries to teach the players that failure is something not be feared to not master a skill right away.
“This is an important lesson that not only applies to hockey, but also to many other things throughout their lifelong learning journey,” he says.
Newly-elected Jets’ president Carolyn Hart says Wong has all the qualities you’d hope to find in a coach.
“I have literally had a parent contact me (ahead of a session) to ask if he was going to be there,” says Hart. “His presence is so important to our newest players, and appreciated by their parents.”
Of Wong, Hart says he has a “friendly, welcoming demeanour and is also a firm coach. He is great at getting a new player’s attention so that the player listens and learns. Dealing with very young new players, many of whom don’t yet know how to skate, is truly an art. He is completely dedicated to helping any new player get into our game and I am very happy to have him as part of our team.”
When Wong was starting out in hockey, speed and tactical thinking were two aspects that appealed to him. They’re still what he appreciates most about hockey.
“The requirements of quick thinking and being faster than I could ever run was, and still is exhilarating,” he says.
Now whenever his nose isn’t in a book or he’s not on the ice, Wong enjoys playing Quidditch, the casual sport made famous by Harry Potter, to get exercise.
“It can get quite competitive, especially with nationals coming up,” he says.