On the Ice with Zach Vandale ’21

Photo by Lauren Canna/The Choate News

Zach Vandale ’21 has been a valuable long term addition to Boys’ Varsity Hockey.

This winter, Boys’ Varsity Hockey has one freshman: Zach Vandale ’21. While he is the only member from his class and a day student, Vandale has had no problems fitting in with the team and adjusting quickly to the higher level of hockey. Associate Editor Dan Brockett ’19 sat down with him to talk about his experience at Choate so far.

Dan Brockett: How long have you been playing hockey?

Zach Vandale: I’ve been playing for 11 years. I first learned to skate when I was three, but I started playing travel hockey at five.

DB: What other sports do you play, and which one is your favorite to play? Why?

ZV: I play baseball in the spring, which I’ve also played since I was five years old, but hockey is my favorite sport to play because it’s a fun, fast-paced team sport. I’ve always loved that indescribable feeling that you get from scoring goals.

DB: What are some of the lessons hockey and other sports have taught you?

ZV: Hockey and other sports have taught me about character and never giving up. I hopefully have a long career in front of me, but my dad tells me to treat every game like it’s my last, so I try to carry that mentality with me every time I step on the ice.

DB: Where did you play before you came to Choate?

ZV: I played in Arizona for 7 years for the Arizona Bobcats, which is one of the top select teams in the western US, and last year I played for Elite Hockey Academy.

DB: What are your goals on the ice this season?

ZV: This season my goals are just to work my hardest when I’m on the ice for the team, and hopefully good things will happen. I think that was really embodied in my first goal for Choate; it was a really gritty and dirty goal, so I think that really reflects on how I try to play every time.

DB: What’s the most difficult thing for you on the ice?

ZV: The most difficult thing for me on the ice is size. Prep school hockey is a lot different from other hockey I’ve played because of the really wide age difference, so I can be playing guys who are three to four years older than me, so I have to rely on my skill and smarts to play at this level.

DB: What has the adjustment to life at Choate been like?

ZV: I love it here.The sense of community is amazing, and it’s been so easy to make friends. I want to become a border at some point, but even as a day student, everything has been great. I’ve obviously gotten really close with my hockey teammates, and they’ve been great helping integrate me into the community.

DB: What number do you wear? Why do you wear that number?

ZV: I wear the ten because I’ve worn nine my whole life and it was the closest to ten that I could get when we were picking numbers, so I just decided to go with it, and I think I look good in it. Anish [Deena ’19] has nine, so I may have to cut a deal with him at some point to get that back.

DB: What’s your favorite thing about being on the team at Choate?

ZV: The best parts about being on the team are my teammates; it’s an amazing brotherhood. I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much from the seniors on the team. They’ve been unreal in helping me to find my footing here at Choate.

DB: What are your goals for hockey in the future?

ZV: Eventually I want to play Division I hockey, but I’m really focused on my career at Choate. I have a lot of work to do before I’m ready for that level, but I just have to come ready to work everyday and continue to grind to get there.


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