One New Jersey bio engineering student takes a break from school for a chance for gold in South Korea
Online Exclusive posted Thursday, March 15, 2018 – 10:56am
Jack Wallace, of the U.S. Sled Hockey Team, wears a prosthetic on his leg. Wallace, who is majoring in bio engineering at The College of New Jersey, is taking the semester off so he could focus on one thing: to bring home a gold medal to his family, friends and the entire nation; which would be his first with the team.
Wallace is a Jersey boy, born and raised, from Franklin Lakes, and grew up not far from teammate and Captain Josh Pauls. He now lives 20 minutes from his assistant captain, Declan Farmer, who attends Princeton University.
Wallace splits time between college, practice for Team USA and another hockey club he just joined (after the NJ Freeze folded), the NY Rangers Sled Hockey Team. While his favorite Jersey Shore character might be Pauly D, that isn’t who he looks up to. Rather, he looks up to two people: his idol, number 30 on the New Jersey Devils, former goalkeeper Martin Brodeur and his biggest inspiration in life, his father, John Wallace.
“He has had it rough throughout his life and he pushes me to keep going,” Wallace said of his father. “He’s always working and striving to be a better person.”
Prior to his boating accident, Jack never knew how to play hockey, but he sure learned quick while at Camp No Limits in Maine, a camp specializing in kids with limb deficiencies. When it comes to sports, Jack is no one trick pony. His hobbies also include skiing and boating. But it’s woodworking with his family and playing the guitar which helps him keep his cool.
The way that Jack warms up for a game is throwing a tennis ball against a wall to loosen up his arms while listening to popular hip hop on his phone.
“It chills me out,” he said. He’ll need the keep a cool factor to avoid defenders when he attempts to sink a goal in the net. In his first three games in Gangneung, during the 2018 Paralympics, he accumulated two of them.
“I mean, it’s a goal for the team,” Jack said, “You thank the guys who passed you the puck, but I think about it as I’m shooting. I just want the puck to go in.”
Game Plan and Team USA
Jack explains that he and his hockey team brothers have one goal in mind: gold, but they aren’t exactly planning for it.
“I mean really we go into each game with a game plan and an open mind,” Jack said. “We’re going to play our style, but we’re going to look at the adjustments that the coaches make, and the players do their jobs, but we don’t go thinking this one’s going to be a close one or this one’s going to be a close one, or this one’s going to be a blow out. We just go in ready to play our style.”
For this 19-year-old sled star and the rest of the USA, Jack’s time is now.
Story published with permission of the Wheelchair Sports Federation. ©2018 All rights reserved.