Breaking the Ice: James Hedquist

By Lili Watford

With 15 goals and 11 assists on the season thus far, James Hedquist has already established quite the name for himself among the AAU D1 college hockey freshman class. 

Hedquist is a Floral Park, New York native, where he grew up playing hockey on Long Island. 

His ice hockey career started when he was four years old, after his dad introduced him to the sport. He’s played for the Long Island Gulls, Royals and Arrows as well as other teams. 

Hedquist played a variety of sports growing up.

“On top of hockey, I also played baseball and soccer,” he said.“I chose to pursue hockey because I liked it more.”

Hedquist said that he gained a lot of unique experience through playing hockey. He said that one of his favorite hockey memories is when he played in Ottawa, he said “it was really shocking and so different, but a lot of fun.”

Though he has gained valuable and unique experiences through the sport, he said that his family has had the biggest impact on him both on and off the ice.

“They’re always very supportive and have allowed me to have the opportunities to push myself and to be successful,” he said.“My dad is one of my biggest role models”

Despite being from Long Island, he takes after his dad as a New York Rangers fan.

With the support from his family and his passion for hockey from his dad, Hedquist decided to pursue a collegiate hockey career. 

He said that he knew that UGA was his next home after visiting the school. He said that he had a great time meeting the guys on the team and he instantly knew that UGA was the school for him.

Off the ice, Hedquist is currently majoring in Real Estate International Business at the Terry College of Business. 

With his future degree in Real Estate International Business, he looks to start his own real estate firm in the coming years.

Hockey and real estate aren’t the freshman’s only passions, he is a part of UGA’s Greek life as a Delta Sigma Phi and his other hobbies include “making music mixes and video editing.” 

After the ice hockey season ends, Hedquist plays roller hockey with the same group of boys from Long Island that he first started playing with at eight years old. 

“In the spring we usually play in two or three tournaments as the Mission Labeda Snipers. In the summer, we go to State Wars which is like the national tournament for roller hockey. We play in that as Team New York, and have won the 2005 AAA Division two out of the last three years,” he said.

Hedquist constantly looks to better himself in his sport through opportunities with UGA Hockey, roller hockey in the off season and professional experience he has gained in seasons past.

“This past summer, I was able to play a few games in the Pro Division with PAMA Labeda Golden Knights during the State Wars,” he said.

A few years ago, at one of these tournaments, Hedquist even met Ryan Bailey – a current Ice Dawg.

Superstitions and traditions are natural for any athlete. Most competitors have a special handshake or tie their skates a certain way, but for Hedquist, he said that no one is allowed to touch his stick before a game.

From his favorite memory of scoring his first goal against Clemson to now, Hedquist consistently stands out. With a bright future ahead of him, Hedquist is a clever player that fans should keep their eye on as he continues to grow and develop as an elite forward for the Ice Dawgs.



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