Richmond’s Michael Araki-Young is noted for his consistency.
Photo by Don Fennell
Sockeyes’ Araki-Young playing for the love of the game
Published 1:28 PST, Wed December 18, 2019
Last Updated: 2:38 PST, Tue January 7, 2020
Afforded the opportunity to turn back to the clock, Michael Araki-Young would tell his 10-year-old self to have fun and not be afraid to try new things.
Wise words from the now 19-year-old Richmond Sockeyes’ homegrown talent who is notable for his consistency. Always a reliable scorer, who is averaging 1.4 points per game this season with the local junior hockey club, coaches are equally appreciative of the forward’s commitment to defence.
“I would like to think that I’m a decently skilled forward who can help contribute a lot offensively,” he says. “I used to try and play a more complete game but I quickly found out that I’m not built to be a power forward. Normally I have pretty good vision of the ice and I like to be a playmaker, but I also like to be a bit selfish sometimes and take the puck to the net myself. I think my greatest strength though comes from my work ethic. I’ve always had my coaches tell me that I’m one of the hardest workers on the ice, and that I’m one of the best back-checkers on the team.”
A full-time student at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, hockey is something of a release valve from academic studies for Araki-Young. It’s also a chance to come home from the pad he’s renting on campus and see his parents.
“I’m currently renting a place at UBC, so playing back home in Richmond is great because I get to come home and see my parents once or twice a week. Last year it was a huge advantage was that I could bring my dirty laundry home on a Thursday, and then pick it back up on Sunday. It’s also super great because whenever I’m running low on food, I can just restock by raiding my parents pantry. Playing in my hometown is also really nice because it’s super easy for my parents and grandparents to come out and watch my games.”
Araki-Young is a big fan of head coach Brett Reusch, who has not only given him the opportunity to continue playing hockey at a high level but also been extremely supportive to boot.
“Two years ago, I was planning on quitting hockey because I thought that I would be too busy, going to university full time and doing a handful of other things. But Brett talked me into playing for the Sockeyes and has been super understanding of other school commitments that have come up. I’m super thankful for this because I couldn’t imagine how different my life would be if I had quit playing the sport I love.”
Araki-Young’s hockey career began at the age of five in Richmond Minor. He grew up a huge fan of legendary Vancouver Canucks’ captain Henrik Sedin and followed his career, watching most of the team’s games on TV. He even modelled his game after Sedin, but says he may have started passing the puck a bit too much. His talent, though, was enough to get him drafted by the Western Hockey League Kootenay Ice.
“I didn’t get drafted very high but it was still pretty nice to have all of my time and hard work recognized,” he says.
Another favourite memory was winning the provincial Challenge Cup for the first time back in Bantam, while playing for the Sockeyes affords him the opportunity to play with many childhood friends who he grew up playing hockey with.
”It’s kind of neat to see that even after all of the different routes we took in hockey, that we all ended up back in the same place,” he says. “My only goal for hockey right now is to help win a championship with the Sockeyes. Outside of hockey, I want to graduate with a dual major in Business Technology Management and Real Estate. But before I do that I want to make the local leaderboards in Clash Royale and reach 500,000 subscribers on YouTube.”
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