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Date Published: April 10, 2007

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There is likely a time, at the elementary or high-school level, when we can all remember those youngsters for whom sports seemed such a natural environment, a venue they could navigate with ease regardless the field or surface. Talented young athletes who made all athletic endeavours appear effortless, often rising to an elite level in multiple sports. 

A grade 6 student at Pinecrest Public School in Valley East, Jacob Smith is one of these athletes. Not surprising, his competitive, driven nature appears to have very early roots. “I can remember playing my first soccer game when I was three or four – we were losing 11-0 and near the end of the game, I scored our only goal”, he said. “I remember running by and high-fiving all of our parents.” 

A rep soccer player within the summer months and track athlete at the elementary school level, Smith is also a forward with the Reliable/Pinnacle Sports Minor Peewee AAA Wolves and he is extremely decisive about his sporting preference. 

“Hockey by far…I just like lacing up the skates” notes Smith, adding that he fully expects to continue in both competitive hockey and soccer for at least a few more years. Self-assured by nature, the well-spoken 11 year-old is clearly in his comfort zone on the ice, where his confidence is evident. 

“I feel smart around the net – I feel that if I get the puck, I’m pretty sure I can set-up a nice play.” Given his offensive prowess, his choice of stars to emulate should be obvious. “My favourite player right now is (Alexander) Ovechkin….it was (Steve) Yzerman before he retired”, explains Smith. 

Although he has played as both a midfielder and striker with the Valley East ’95 boys team, his nose for the net suggests an expected preference. “I like playing forward and getting the ball up to me so I can go and score goals.” Still, he carries an awareness through both sports of the importance of team play. 

 “When you score, it might be a little tap-in goal but when you set up a play, everybody is like “nice assist, nice pass” acknowledges Smith, the eldest of two children in the family.

Jacob Smith made the jump from the ranks of the Valley East Rebels to playing “AAA” hockey for the first time this year, although he has played against some of the same competitors in previous spring hockey campaigns. 

And the increased competition suits this talented youngster just fine.  “I don’t get discouraged – I get more excited because I know I’m going to have to turn my game up a notch.” Based on what we’ve seen so far, that notch is definitely within his grasp.


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