Jason Hewitt interview

Friday, 29th August 2003

Jason Hewitt began playing ice hockey a little over five years ago at the sadly now demolished Devonshire Road rink in Altrincham. A fan at first, Jason admits, “When watching hockey, the physical side of the game and the speed attracted me to want to play. When I started playing the game I became further to everything about it. You need so many elements to be able to play and it’s very demanding – you have to work at it.”

Having mastered the rudiments of skating in the public sessions, Jason wanted to get into the game side of skating and he went right in at the first level. “I went to stick and puck classes at Altrincham, and after a few classes I was asked to go training with the Altrincham Jets U16’s and the coach signed me for the team – I was very happy at making the team so quickly.”

Once again, familiar names are cited as being major influences in Jason’s formative years in ice hockey, “Nipper (Paul Bayliss) and Simon (Mills) have been great with me ever since I started at Altrincham. They are the two biggest factors in my time in the game so far. As the Altrincham Aces coach, Nipper pushed me hard and helped me to develop into the player I am today, I’ll always be grateful to him for the time he spent with me and I know the other Altrincham lads feel the same way about him.”

As with the other local players signed up by the Phoenix, we asked Jason about favourite players he’s seen in the UK and the NHL. “Kelly Askew when he was with the Storm was my favourite, he had great speed and scored some great goals. Pavel Bure has to be my favourite in the NHL – another player with unbelievable speed and skill, and what a goal scoring record he has. Great players both of them in my opinion.”

Last season playing with the Altrincham Aces was a very special one for the local players as they knew that the Devonshire Road rink was destined to go and they wanted to give the old barn a good send off before the developers moved in. The Aces worked their socks off all season finishing runners up in the league and losing out narrowly in the Playoff final against Basingstoke. Jason recalls, “Last season with the Aces was the most memorable for me because everyone on the team wanted to succeed. Every player played for each other as well as themselves and we were all there for each other when things got hard. The main thing I remember is that we won and lost as a team, there were no individuals. Hockey is a team sport and last season I think we demonstrated that in our own way.”

Now, a new horizon is looming for Jason and the other local players signed by the Phoenix under the stewardship of the Elite League – a body determined to bring the best possible hockey to the fans, but also equally determined to ensure that as many home grown British players are given the chance to step up and share the ice time with the more experienced import players. Jason is well aware of the chance he has and says, “Hockey means a lot to me and my ambition would be to do something that I love for a living and to be as successful as I can at the highest level possible.”