Native Canadian Struts His Stuff on the Ice

While any Los Altan would expect an ice rink to be covered with toddlers dressed in sequins and tuts, anyone from San Jos immediately thinks of one thing: dorsal fins, rows of teeth and music from “Jaws.” Because in Shark territory, sequins are unheard of and glitter is dismissed. In San Jose, when the ice is smooth and the lights are bright, a different animal emerges. This animal, covered with sweat and hungry for competition, is none other than senior David Kellenberger, a student with bright aspirations and a heart that aches for the ice.

Born in Canada a few miles from the hometown of Shark center forward Joe Thornton, David was destined for a life spent on the ice. Almost as soon as he was born, David yearned to play ice hockey, the most popular sport in Canada. The sport soon became a common activity for David, who first began to skate at age 4 in his grandmother’s backyard, later to become a goalie at age 11. Since then, he has played more than 42 games and goaltended for two of the most hockey teams in Northern California.

Now, in the shadow of the greatest hockey players on earth, David brings a new definition to the Bay Area’s chilly activities as he straps on his leg pads, stands in front of a target and repeatedly tries to get hit by a small, hard disc. He currently plays goalkeeper for the San Jose Junior Sharks club team, wearing pads formerly owned by San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

“It’s so cool to be using the same equipment as this guy who is so great,” David said. “They’re relatively new, because [Nabokov] always has to have the latest and greatest equipment. It really gives me a power boost when I realize that I’m following so closely in his footsteps.”

As a goalie, and therefore his team’s last defense against an offending goal, a lot of pressure is put upon David, who trains mentally and physically year-round.

“You matter so much to your team,” David said. “It calls for a lot of mental stamina and flexibility. You’re the last man on the field, and because of that, you either get a lot of the blame or a lot of the glory.”

His training program consists of four-hour practices twice a week, ice training  (for speed_ and a dry-land fitness program, which includes running, weightlifting and agility training. David’s team additionally has two games per weekend and frequently attends tournaments where it competes against the best teams in the state. They recently won games against the California Cougars, whom they have never beat, in the Regional Winter Classic the weekend of March 8.

“I had to be taken out of the game,” David said. “I got hit in the head with a slapshot and suffered a minor concussion. So I haven’t played since then, but this weekend [March 15] we have a tournament, and I’ll play.”

He plans to continue his ice hockey career in college, for which he has received some premature evidence of admission to Dartmouth.