Brahmas find niche on ice

Three Brahmas play hockey for Bishop Amat High School in La Puente and practice in Ontario.



Junior Matthew Ho, sophomore Nolton Burns and freshman Aidan Yim all played in the same recreational program before joining Bishop Amat’s team.

Catherine Liu, Staff Writer

On the West Coast, hockey is not a major sport for most high school students. But  Diamond Bar High School junior Matthew Ho, sophomore Nolton Burns and freshman Aidan Yim go out of their way to pursue competitive hockey, traveling to La Puente to play for the Bishop Amat High School team.

Ho, Burns and Yim practice three times a week, two days on Wednesday and Saturday for a group practice while one day is for individual practice. The group usually holds practice at the rinks that are available in Ontario, such as the Center Ice Arena.

“We just go to the rinks and do some outdoor workout,” Ho said. “Then we would go onto ice for an hour to two hours just to weave in, weave out, do some drills and polish our skills.”

Ho started skating in third grade before taking up ice hockey in fifth grade. Skating was something that Ho decided to do recreationally with his friends until he became interested in competitive hockey after watching a game.

“When I was nine, I watched my first hockey game,” Ho said. “It was a really intense game, and I really enjoyed it. I was like, ‘You know, they’re skating that fast, so why can’t I do it?’”

Ho was able to play his first hockey game through the program, In-House at Anaheim Ice. The program gave Ho experience in competing against other players and trying to work together with different people as a team. After playing hockey recreationally for three years, Ho wanted to play more competitively and researched ways to get involved, before discovering Bishop Amat’s hockey team online. The Bishop Amat’s hockey team accepts players that do not attend its school to make up for their lack of players.

“We were able to get in contact with the manager, and she gave us the location of tryouts in the summer. I went in, and I got accepted,” Ho said.

He improved throughout the years, starting off his freshman and sophomore year as a starter for the junior varsity team before becoming a transition player for both the JV and varsity team in his junior year. When playing for varsity, he plays as the wing while he plays as a center for JV. Meanwhile, Burns started playing roller hockey when he was four, introduced to the sport by a friend of the family.

“At first I didn’t like hockey, but the more I played it, the more I got to know the game,” Burns said.

Burns played roller hockey up until ninth grade when a friend recommended he play for the Bishop Amat team by his friend, who played roller hockey with him. Burns played for one season with the In-House ice hockey team before trying out for the high school team.

“It wasn’t that different, but just the stopping and stick handling was the big difference,” Burns said.

He is now a transition player for the high school, playing defense for JV and forward for varsity.

“I like ice hockey better than roller hockey. I like the physicality of it,” Burns said.

Aidan Yim, who learned the fundamentals of hockey from his father, has played the sport  for six years, including three with In-House.

“My dad bought me a pair of skates and then I just played with him for a year. Then, he put me in an In-House league,” Yim said.

In sixth grade, Yim started to play for a club called California Wave, and won a championship at a Christmas tournament with the team.

Hearing about Bishop Amat’s hockey team through his friends at the club, Yim soon tried out and made the cut. On the team, Yim plays as a transition player for both JV and varsity, playing defense for JV and center for varsity. Yim said that with hockey, he had to overcome the pressure he felt at times that would cause him to mess up.

“It is a lot of pressure on you sometimes and you don’t want to make mistakes,” Yim said.

Yim said that he is able to handle this by taking a break on the bench and focuses on relaxing before returning on ice. Ho, Burns and Yim all said that they hope to continue playing hockey in the future and if possible, in college.

“I still have a lot to improve, I think I will try to [continue hockey] or do some recreational [games] in college,” Ho said.