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    Hanging up the Skates

    Hanging up the Skates

    Photo By Sgt. William Hester | Jagger Denys (Right), a senior at Carlsbad High School, received a Naval Reserve...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. William Hester 

    12th Marine Corps District

    CARLSBAD, Calif. – Many high School athletes strive to be good enough to make it to the next level. A small fraction of them earn collegiate scholarships, let alone make it to a professional league in their respective sport. Jagger Denys paved his way for multiple opportunities to continue playing the sport he loves after high school. However, along the way he discovered another opportunity that swallowed his interest in his first love, hockey.
    “I remember waking up at five o’clock in the morning when I was 13 to go to practice,” said Denys, a senior at Carlsbad High School. “Then, I would have a workout or another practice in the evening.”
    Denys’ drive from an early age lead to a strong work ethic that developed his skills enough for the opportunity to play for a junior team in Los Angeles, the Jr. King’s 16U AAA team. The Jr. Kings compete within the Tier I Elite Hockey League, which he participated in his junior year of high school.
    “After high school, you go play for a junior team to develop for college, unlike most sports,” said Denys referring to the Jr. Kings. “I moved to L.A. for my junior year instead of commuting [from Carlsbad]. It was different living by myself, and L.A. is hectic as it is, but it definitely helped me grow up.”
    He lived in L.A. for several months at sixteen years old, juggling his school work, hockey and other responsibilities that came with living away from his family.
    Jagger was invited to move to Canada to play in the Western Hockey League, a prestigious junior level hockey league that often feeds into National Hockey League organizations in the U.S. and Canada. He also received an invitation to play in Russia for the Minor Hockey League, which often sends players to the Kontinental Hockey League, considered to be the premier professional hockey league in Europe and Asia, but after researching his options in the military, he was ready to hang up his skates.
    “They would have paid me pretty good,” said Denys. “But hockey took a backseat after I got [the scholarship] process started.”
    Denys is one of seven students in San Diego who will receive a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship worth $180,000 for being an exceptional student, athlete and citizen.
    “I applied with no expectation and was very excited when I found out I won,” said Denys.
    Jagger wants to stay close to home, and is going to attend University of San Diego in the Fall of 2017. Upon graduating college and finishing the Officer Candidate School, he will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
    “I love what the [NROTC] program entailed,” said Jagger. “Hockey was always a path to college, and I won’t say I’m not going to miss it, but this is what I want to do.”
    Mario Denys, Jagger’s father, stated that hockey, and the discipline that comes with the sport, had a big part in molding him to make his decision.
    “I’ve played hockey since I was four years old, but this scholarship changed everything,” said Denys. “When I talked to the Marines, it was done.”



    Date Taken: 06.22.2017
    Date Posted: 06.22.2017 22:09
    Story ID: 238910
    Location: CARLSBAD, FL, US
    Hometown: CARLSBAD, CA, US
    Hometown: KEIZER, OR, US
    Hometown: WICHITA, KS, US

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