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New Faces Spotlight: Bobby Rockwell


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New Faces is a section of the Sparkplugs Skaters hockey magazine that looks at the newest additions to the VHL and its affiliated leagues. On today’s New Faces article, we will be looking at Bobby Rockwell, the young sixteen-year-old recently added to the VHLM’s Halifax 21st. 


Coming from across the pond, Bobby Rockwell is a stout defenseman standing in at 5’11”. While some may look at him and think he is undersized but worry not. This gritty sixteen-year-old hails from Ireland and knows what it takes to make the opponent fear him. He may stand at 5’11” but he plays like someone who is 6’11”. 

Rockwell wasn’t there for the S81 entry draft, but members of the Halifax 21st management took notice of the defenseman and signed him up. And after two games in the league, it seems the Irishman is already finding what he needs to do to help the team, racking up four hits and becoming the physical presence in front of the net and along the boards. Rockwell might not light up the scoreboard this season, but it looks like he’ll be preventing the opponent from doing so throughout the season. 


After the game against the Miami Marauders where Halifax came out victorious 4-3, we got a chance to sit down with Bobby Rockwell, ask a few questions, and get to know the Irishman a little better. 


Interviewer: Thank you for sitting down with me! It’s been great to see you on the ice! The first question has got to be how the first few games have been. Were there any jitters? Sick to your stomach? Anything like that? 


Rockwell: Thanks for having me. Um. The first few games were... a little up and down. Of course, the first game comes around and it’s probably my first actual game where things are competitive, you know? Ireland doesn’t really have much of a hockey scene so it’s mainly just pick up games and whatnot. Here though, we’re playing for something more than just who’s going to buy dinner after the game. There’s a championship we’re here to compete and win in. So yeah, I was feeling a little nervous before the first game, but as soon as the game started, all of that went out the window. The second game was much of the same thing really. Once you get on the ice and start thinking about what you’re going to do, all of those nerves are gone. 


Interviewer: Any teammates give you advice on pre-game nerves or anything like that? 


Rockwell: Not really, no. To be honest, I don’t really know the others too well yet. I’ve got a chance to talk to Sean, Sean Logue, since we’re defensive partners and he holds up pretty well. I asked him about the nerves and he was pretty nonchalant about it. He’s also a new face on the team so I was expecting him to be like me, but he’s as cool as a cucumber. Or maybe he’s just hiding it really well, I don’t know. But other than him, not really. I think it’s just something that’ll fade away as the season goes on. 


Interviewer: Mhm. Every player reacts differently to the new environment. And since you touched on it earlier about coming from Ireland, how did you get into hockey in the first place? Like you said, there isn’t a big hockey scene back in Ireland. 


Rockwell: Well, I started playing sports in general when I was a kid playing cricket with a few friends, but that was mainly a summer sport. During winters, I was always bored out of my mind and eventually, I got pushed into playing hockey. There are some similarities between the two too, so that helped quite a bit. Of course, there’s no bowler or wickets or anything like that, but there’s a paddle that you swing and that’s enough for me. I played a bit of drop-in hockey during a winter and I got hooked on it. And it's got me to where I am now sitting in front of you doing this interview. Life’s great. 


Interviewer: Life’s great indeed. So, hockey isn’t really a traditional Irish sport, so how was it learning the game in Ireland, and do you think it’s helped you get to where you are now? 


Rockwell: Honestly, yeah. Since we don’t really have many people to look up to for help, I spent a lot of time just watching the top VHL pros and learning the game through that. Scoring wasn’t really my strong suit though, I learned that a while back, so I really just focused on how to become a solid defensive player. There aren’t too many highlight reels of amazing defensive plays unlike goals and dangles, so watching full games and seeing how the best defensemen work was a big focus. Putting what I learned into practice was a little hard, but strength was always something I looked to improve in since it looked like the most effective way to stop a player from scoring is to literally stop them in their tracks. 


Interviewer: Yeah, that really shows in your game. Four solid hits in your first two games really shows you put that into effect. And speaking of effect, what effect to you want on your teammates going forward into your first season in the VHLM? 


Rockwell: The main thing is to become someone everyone can rely on. I won’t be much help to the team on the offensive end to be honest, but I want to give the team the reassurance that there won’t be anything to worry about on the defensive end while I’m on the ice. 


Interviewer: Those are some big words from a young player. And let’s take a look into the future. Skip forward three years. Where do you want to be in your career in three years? 


Rockwell: Man, three years into the future. Let’s see. I’d say the main thing I want to see is progression as a player. I want to be seen as a solid defenseman any team would want to pick up and maybe even get a few looks from the VHLE teams. That might be pushing it a little, but the main thing is going to be to see myself as a top defenseman of the VHLM. 


Interviewer: Well, I hope you can become what you set out to be and I hope that this season goes well for you and Halifax. It was great talking to you, Bobby. 


Bobby Rockwell is a young man with the potential to become a great defenseman in the league. The kid has the heart and determination to become great and we here at New Faces will be looking forward to seeing what he can do in the future. 


The Halifax 21st will be playing the 2-0 Ottawa Lynx tomorrow on Pro Day 3. 


1146 words, claiming for Nov 28th and Dec 5th

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Excellent work Kairi! This was a great article, you're showing a solid understanding of everything despite only being here for a few days. Like FtI said, the formatting is top notch (this is becoming a theme 😛 ), and it's easy to read, with top notch grammar and everything.


At this rate, Rockwell is going to be the rock Halifax and future teams will be lucky to have. :cheers:

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