From the very first conversation that I had with David I could tell that his story was unlike most other young people his age. David Zalessky is a Junior National Hockey League (NHL) player. This amazing 16 year old doesn’t spend his days in high school like most his age and his life is centered around his chosen sport of hockey. David also knows what he is going to do when he grows up! He intends to make a career of hockey and this has been his plan since he was about eight years old.
To play on the Junior National Hockey League means that he will play on one of the Junior NHL teams until he is 18 years old. At that point David will then go on to play for an official NHL team. This requires a great deal of practice on a daily basis and a level of commitment and dedication that would be challenging for many high schoolers. While his education is also important to him, he doesn’t attend a traditional high school. Instead he is getting his high school diploma via an on-line school. This allows him time during the day to practice, practice, and practice some more. When asked if he minded the time commitment, David said, “Not at all…I love this sport!”
David recently tried out for one of the junior NHL teams named the Toronto Predators. He landed a spot as one of the team’s three goalies. This was a huge accomplishment! When asked what his reaction was when he made the team, he simply said, “I wasn’t that surprised when I got the spot because I had felt confident in my skills and abilities, but it was still an amazing feeling!” This was definitely a big step in the right direction for him and his intended future of playing hockey for a living.
Throughout his pursuit of hockey, David feels much gratitude to his family for the amount of support they have shown to him. Not only does he credit his parents for introducing him to hockey at a very early age, but also for their continued financial and emotional support throughout all of his hockey endeavors. Not to mention their willingness to have him take a non-traditional educational path.
His home-away-from-home for the last few years has been The Ice Ranch in Littleton, Colorado. David spends most of his waking hours at this facility. The Ice Ranch is Colorado’s premier ice skating rink that trains not only those individuals who are pursuing the sport professionally, but also hosts a variety of recreational and club leagues for those people who just want to play hockey for fun. It draws in players of all ages and is well-known for its expert coaches and trainers, not to mention great players like David.
To watch David on the ice, it is clear that he’s a natural hockey player and loves the sport. As goalie, he demonstrates strength and good judgment when protecting the goal and his confidence level is impressive. Maddie Mills, an observer at one of David’s recent practices, said, “I’m glad he believes in himself. That’s a trait not many have.”
David Zalessky is a resident of Colorado for now, but with him recently earning a spot as a goalie for the Toronto Predators team, this will soon change. Come the end of July 2017, David will move to Toronto, Canada to pursue his future in hockey. As of now he continues his private lessons here in Colorado until late in July when he will move up to Toronto, Canada to continue his preparations for his upcoming season only this time it will be with his new team the Toronto Predators. Be on the lookout for David in a dark blue and yellow Predators jersey come the Fall hockey season.