Ice hockey is more than just a sport for James Joseph. It's a lifelong passion that runs in his family and has shaped his life in more ways than one. James, a 36 year old healthcare regulator, is not only a player for Lee Valley Lions but also a dedicated coach. His journey into ice hockey began at the age of eight, and it's a journey he's been committed to ever since.
James' deep connection with ice hockey began through his father, Eddie Joseph. Eddie was deeply engaged with both the Lee Valley Ice Centre and the ice hockey team before his unfortunate passing, and he successfully transmitted his passion for the sport to his son.
James Joseph said: "He took me when I was young, and when I was 8, he took me to an ice hockey taster session at Lee Valley.
“They only had one age group (under 12s) - my dad took me to train and then he got involved in the training of the junior ice hockey team. I loved it from the beginning. It’s fun, it is exciting.”
The sport immediately captivated James, and he's been involved ever since, first as a player and later as a coach for the junior ice hockey team.
For James, ice hockey is more than just a hobby; it's a way of life. Since the age of eight, it has been a regular part of his life, and he can't imagine his life without it.
“It has also kept me fit and healthy – there have been times when I wasn't enjoying the game particularly, but I have stuck with it through the hard times because it is the driving force to keep me healthy."
One of the most significant developments in James's ice hockey journey is the brand-new Lee Valley Ice Centre, which promises to be a game-changer for the sport. He notes that finding ice time in London has been challenging, but the new centre will help that issue.
James is passionate about introducing young people to ice hockey, and the Lee Valley Lions are doing their part to make it more accessible. The club works with underprivileged children from Waltham Forest, providing equipment and support to ensure that financial constraints don't hinder their participation.
“We want as many children to get into ice skating as possible but it can be very expensive. We at Lee Valley Lions offset that by having lots of spare equipment children can get to grips with, without having to buy it – opening up access for all.”
James Joseph's story is a testament to the power of sports in transforming lives and fostering a sense of community. His dedication to ice hockey, coupled with his involvement in coaching, is making the sport more inclusive and accessible to a new generation of players.
Why not Learn to Skate before trying ice hockey? Sign up for lessons at Lee Valley Ice Centre!