Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt grew up in Wisconsin and played youth hockey growing up and it appears he has not lost any of his skills on the ice yet. At 6’5″ 290 lbs, Watt has surprisingly good skating ability and hands, not to mention great shooting form.
Last year, J.J. told SI’s Peter King about his love for hockey and the financial issues that got in the way:
“I grew up in Wisconsin loving hockey. I mean, I started when I was three years old on skates. I played all over—in Canada all the time, all over the U.S., over in Germany for a 10-day tournament. Hockey, honestly, was my first love. The excitement, the fast pace, the intensity of the game … I still love it to this day. Really, I had to quit. It was financial. I have two younger brothers and we were all playing on a travel team, and it was extremely expensive. My family is a middle class family. When I grew up and learned how much it actually cost for us to play hockey, I could not believe that my parents let us play as long as they did. Now I’m forever grateful for my parents even giving me the opportunity, because honestly those were some of the best years of my life. Now that I understand how much it cost, I’m so thankful to my parents.”
You might expect these skills to deteriorate over time with his concentration on football, but apparently they haven’t. All I know is there is no way I would ever go in the corner with J.J. Watt or get in his way, he probably plays like a runaway freight train.