GANGNEUNG, South Korea—-The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), located in Ewing, New Jersey has a bio engineering department. Their description of their program on their website lists their department’s goals as having to, “Design and develop instruments, devices, and computational models to evolve modern healthcare.” This is fitting for someone as bright and someone who is disabled by a boating accident during their youth. The person being referred to is Jack Wallace of the U.S. Sled Hockey Team. He happens to wear a prosthetic on his leg. Jack, who is majoring in this field at TCNJ 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.
Jack is a Jersey boy, born and raised from Franklin Lakes, NJ. He 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. Jack splits time between college, practice for Team USA and and his other club he just joined (after the NJ Freeze folded), the NY Rangers Sled 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 #30 on the NJ Devils, former goalkeeper Martin Brodeur and his biggest inspiration in life, his father, John Wallace.
“He has had it rough throughout the his life and he pushes me to keep going.”, Said Wallace of his father, continuing, “He’s always working, striving to be a better person.”
For Wallace, he’s a player who never knew how to play hockey before his accident; he sure learned quick while at Camp No Limits in Maine, a camp specializing in kids with limb deficiency. 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 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,” he said, “You thank the guys who passed you the puck.” but he doesn’t think about it as he is shooting. He just wants the puck to go in.
As for the game plan for him and Team USA? Jack explains that he and his United States Sled 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. We’re gonna play our style, but we’re gonna look at the adjustments that the coaches make and the players do their jobs, but we don’t go thinking this one’s gonna be a close one or this one’s gonna be a close one, or this one’s gonna 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.