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02/28/2023 08:08 AM

Ford a Dedicated Student and Athlete for Southington-Coginchaug-Westbrook Boys’ Ice Hockey

Junior Jack Ford has been a dedicated leader for the Southington-Coginchaug-Westbrook boys’ ice hockey team this season, while also excelling in the classroom. Photo courtesy of Kristen Ford

Having to balance academics with playing sports is no easy feat. For Jack Ford, he makes the most of his time on the hockey rink while also excelling in the classroom, something that has made him a standout player for the Southington-Coginchaug-Westbrook boys’ ice hockey team this season.

The junior forward and Westbrook native has been playing hockey since he was five years old, having grown attached to the sport over the years.

“I have been playing since I was five, so around 11 years,” says Jack. “I played with the Greater New Haven Warriors through freshman year. Hockey was something I wanted to try, and I really enjoyed it.”

Jack is a multi-sport athlete, as he is also a member of the soccer and baseball teams at Westbrook High School. His work ethic and motivation have allowed him to be successful in all three of his athletic ventures, but one thing that sets Jack apart from the rest of his hockey team is that he has to travel to and from practice, sometimes to be on the ice at 5 a.m., as well as having to be a student.

“I balance everything by getting my work done early and going to sleep earlier to make up for the time lost for early practices,” says Jack.

Head coach Bob Allan has enjoyed coaching Jack over his high school tenure and has seen a vast improvement in his game.

“He is doing excellent on the team; he is a key contributor for the team. Recently he was on a three-game scoring streak,” says Allan. “He has definitely improved from last year; he is a much smarter player this year, came back stronger and faster.”

Despite the travel and commitment involved for Jack to be present with his team, Allan admires his ability to always show enthusiasm and give 100% in practice.

“I believe that he is our furthest-traveled player. We practice in Cromwell three to four times a week, and then a couple times a week, we are on the ice at 5 a.m.,” says Coach Allan. “He is usually walking into the rink a little past 4 a.m., and is usually one of the first players to arrive. He has an incredible work ethic and is always excited to be on the ice; very coachable kid and has a great personality.”

Jack is making a difference on the ice by averaging three goals and five assists per game in an accelerated role while also being a strong leader for his teammates.

“I feel that I had the ability to hold more of a leadership role for my team this year,” says Jack. “I also had a more important playing role this year.”

Along with taking on a bigger responsibility with the Knights this year, Jack has had to help his teammates overcome some uncontrollable obstacles.

“A challenge that my whole team and I faced was a recent wave of illness that caused many people to be out for a while,” says Jack. “This was something we had to overcome. Everyone stepped up to fill in for who was out.”

As the Knights look to focus on the postseason portion of their schedule, Allan hopes they can surprise some people but, more importantly, be more equipped to start next season on the right foot with Jack and the other rising seniors.

“I feel like the team is really coming together. Our short-term goal is to finish out the season and secure a spot in the playoffs,” says Allan. “From there, I expect us to be a dangerous team in the playoffs and be surprising a lot of people. For next year, we look to start the season more effectively with Jack and the rest of the seniors.”

One thing about Jack that makes him such a strong asset to any team he’s on is his ability to stay positive, a trait that has gotten him very far in his athletic career and one that he is displaying when it comes to his team’s postseason hopes this season.

“I’m looking forward to making a statement in the playoffs, as we are the clear underdogs, and it would be great to put our name on the map,” says Jack. “Although we didn’t get the outcome we wanted (in a 2-1 loss vs. Hall on Feb. 25), it was a great game to reflect on all of the positive outcomes we had this season and get ready for the playoffs.”