In this first instalment of our new ‘Get to Know’ series, Lauren Thom sat down with one of the Racers’ newest acquisitions for this season, Jack Wright.
Before signing with the Racers, Jack played for Villars HC in Switzerland. In the interview, the 20-year-old ‘D’ man discusses the differences between playing in the UK and Switzerland, the hardest part about adjusting to life in Scotland and plenty more.
What made you decide to sign for the Racers?
It was part of my university decision. I’ve lived in Switzerland and I wanted to come to the UK, so I applied to universities with ice hockey teams in them. That was number one for my choice – it had to have an ice rink.
How old were you when you started playing and what inspired you to start?
I must have been five or six and we had a little ice rink in our village in Switzerland and a couple of us from primary school decided to go play.
How does it differ in Scotland to Switzerland?
In Scotland, some of the away rinks, actually Murrayfield is fine, but some of the away rinks are smaller, which feels weird. It is a bit claustrophobic, like you’d make a pass and it goes halfway across the rink.
So that’s probably the biggest difference, otherwise the game itself is slightly different. Here it’s a little bit slower but all of the passing, all of the timings, are a lot more accurate.
In Switzerland it’s a lot faster and a bit more frantic and nothing really ever worked properly.
A lot of Swiss players have managed to transition to the NHL, like (Roman) Josi for example. Were any of these players an inspiration to you growing up?
Yeah. I love Swiss players. I mean I watch more of the NHL. I’m a bigger fan of the NHL than the Swiss Leagues, but the Swiss players are my favourite players.
Have you got a particular team that you follow?
I follow the Vancouver Canucks, because I spent a year in Vancouver when I was younger.
You had some passport issues when you were trying to come over – tell us about that.
It was pretty annoying! I wasn’t allowed to be a British player even though I have a British passport. I was born in England, but had trained and grown up in Switzerland.
I had a Swiss passport too, but was told I’d be classed as import unless I got rid of it. The Racers helped me with that, and we got there in the end.
You’ve got plenty of experience in skiing – what got you into this and what level are you at?
When I was younger, I had ice hockey and skiing going at the same time and I loved both of them equally. But I got to the stage where I sort of had to make a choice. You know, it takes too much time at the weekends. At 15 or so, I chose ice hockey. I still ski – I’m a ski instructor in the winter.
Is there anything else you enjoy doing outside of skiing?
I do a lot of climbing. I joined the mountaineering society here (at Edinburgh University) and I love that. It’s very social. It just gets you away from places and it gets you out into the mountains and stuff. I love that. But it’s difficult finding time with hockey and uni.
What are you studying?
Mechanical Engineering – it’s a four-year course. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with it afterwards. I think I’m just going along with what I like so far and hopefully something will happen.
How are you finding Scotland?
I love Scotland, I love Edinburgh. I’ve never lived in the UK, but I feel very English because my parents are English. I love it, it’s so cool. It’s such a great city.
Is there anything you enjoy in general about being on the Racers team?
I love the guys – they are so funny. I’m still trying to learn their accents and what they say because they speak in such strong Scottish and they use all their slang.
One of the guys next to me said something to me last night (on Halloween). He said “Oh are you going out…”… what’s the word for trick or treating in Scottish?
Guising, that’s it! He was like “Are you going out Guising?”, and I was like “I don’t know what that means. Can you translate it?” And then everyone laughed at me. But that’s fine, I love the guys here.
(Image permission: Racers Media)