By John Philip Wyllie
Roller Hockey is a sport that often flies under the radar, but San Diego has become a haven for this rapidly developing offshoot of its more well-known cousin, ice hockey. Bonita Vista High School’s Max Ramos can’t get enough of it.
“I have played soccer and baseball and I still play golf, but I really like roller hockey. It has the element of finesse with your hands that you need while controlling the puck. With a lot of the other sports you come in already knowing how to do the basics. They all revolve around running. Hockey revolves around skating. So there is another element that you have to learn before you even pick up a stick. That makes for a whole other level of difficulty that is added on.”
Ramos loves a challenge and not just athletically.
Recognized as a National Hispanic Scholar for his 4.04 G.P.A. and his superior PSAT score, Ramos has received seven full-ride offers from various universities. While he has not yet committed, the University of Nebraska Lincoln is his current front runner.
“I would like to get into some type of engineering. I plan to start with an engineering physics degree. They don’t usually require you to select a specific field of engineering until late in your junior year. So a broader degree in that will give me some exposure to things like chemical, biochemical, biomedical, mechanical, structural and architectural engineering. Then in my junior year I will decide which of those I want to specialize in. I plan to also get a degree in business management, with the hope of one day running my own engineering company.”
Athletics provides Ramos with balance in a schedule that is filled with tough courses, tough academic competition and a never ending series of exams and tests. Roller hockey has also provided him the opportunity to meet his girlfriend, Kelly Nash. He and Nash play together on what is one of the school’s few coed teams. She has parlayed her ice skating and stick skills into a scholarship next fall at the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers are the defending NCAA champions of women’s ice hockey.
“I began playing after Kelly started to become very well known in San Diego for playing hockey. I went to see a few of her games and went to a party at a roller rink. I started to play and found that it was really fun. The team was open to new players as long as you showed effort and wanted to play. I had both roller bladed and played golf before so I used skills learned with each of them to learn how to play roller hockey.”
Gaining a girlfriend in the process was an added bonus. Ramos, Nash and their teammates currently find themselves in second place in the Mesa League behind Otay Ranch, but they hope to avenge an earlier loss to the Mustangs when the teams meet again.