It’s tradition for the Rogaski family to sit down for dinner together and then go their separate ways to their respective ice hockey practices. To Jack Rogaski (11), and his brothers Luke (9) and Hank, family dinners are, of course, for talking about schedules and work days, but more importantly, for discussing ice hockey.
A family sport, ice hockey came into Jack’s life through his cousin Teddy Rosser, whose family encouraged the Rogaskis to look into the sport.
“My older cousin played it; his family told us about it and we went out and tried it,” Rogoski said. “We started doing learn-to-play stuff and then just found we loved it.”
By the age of 10, Rogaski had won his first tournament.
“It was a Christmas tournament. The first game I won went into overtime, and we won 3-2. I was playing for some tournament team that was just thrown together, but that was my first [game].”
Jack’s hockey career began with his participation in in-house and recreational leagues, playing offensive and defensive positions on teams. When he was old enough to fully understand ice hockey, Jack committed to defense because it offered him more playing time.
Currently, Jack plays for the La Jolla Country Day High School Torreys, but he started out playing for local San Diego teams like the San Diego Jr. Gulls and the San Diego Oilers. Luke plays in a local recreational league, and Hank played for the Gulls, while attending Earl Warren Middle School as a seventh grader.
TPHS does not have an ice hockey team, so CIF rules allow Jack and teammates Jake Goldberg (12) and Carter Chaison (10) to play for La JOlla Country Day.
The boys aren’t the only family members who are hockey-heavy. Mom Pamela Rogaski playing recreational roller hockey and father Michael Rogaski plays ice hockey with his sons.
Despite a busy schedule, the Rogaskis help each other prepare and be ready before their games, even if it is just providing the right kind of food.
“I would say if it’s an early morning game I’ll eat a nice bowl of cereal, but if it’s later in the day, some kind of pasta or maybe some chicken,” Jack said.
Other than food, Jack gets ready for his games by taking an extra minute in the locker room to listen to his pre-game playlist of rock and rap.
As a family of hockey players, the Rogaskis spend time together at the gym twice a week, and Jack and Michael work on their upper body strength and legs to stay in shape. Jack used to play soccer as part of his training regimen, but stopped so that he would be able to clock more hours at the gym.
Jack uses the strength he spends so much time maintaining to his advantage in the rink. Once, he pushed it too far, spending 16 minutes in the penalty box after receiving a head contact penalty and a few tripping penalties within one quarter.
“At first I was kind of [scared of checking],” Jack said. “I’ve always been one of the taller kids growing up, so at first, I was nervous, but then once I realized I’m bigger than everyone else, I got into it a lot more.”
While Jack has found a passion for ice hockey alongside the rest of the Rogaskis, his successful hockey career has not come without a price.
“[The biggest challenge] is time management,” Jack said. “We do have three practices and a game each week, all while I’m trying to find time to do homework and classwork.”
Despite his interest in continuing to play ice hockey, Jack isn’t actively looking to commit to a college for ice hockey, but if it helps him get in, then he’ll play for his future college team. But at the moment, his plan is to play on a rec or club team after his high school playing days are over.
Dinners are important to the Rogaskis; it’s not only their time to talk hockey together, but also when they support each other through their hockey endeavors. Jack picks up his jersey, with 58 emblazoned on the back – it’s no mistake that it’s the same number as Jack’s No. 1 hockey idol, Chris Letang, who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins – and heads out the door for another practice.