Dordt College News

Rempel leaves mark on local hockey

May 9, 2009

Throughout his four years at Dordt, Jared Rempel helped run the local youth hockey league. He was happy to give time to the community and to a sport that, he says, has given much to him.

Jared Rempel is a secondary education history major from Chilliwack, British Columbia, with a deep love of hockey, golf, and working with people.

When he arrived in Sioux Center four years ago, a talented and high-level hockey player, he immediately got involved not only with the Dordt Blades hockey team and the Defender golf team, but also with the fledgling Sioux Center Youth Hockey program. It’s become his passion, and he’s thrown himself into giving young players the opportunity to enjoy hockey and be successful at it. He’s also a leader on the Dordt teams.

Jared has a healthy confidence in himself and what he can contribute,” says hockey coach Nate Van Niejenhuis. “He’s not afraid to go out and do it.” Van Niejenhuis describes him as an on-ice motivator, leading by example, and saying what needs to be said.

Assistant Coach Bill Elgersma describes Rempel as having a tactical hockey sense and an intuitive sense for teaching.

“Even at his skill level, he is very patient as he moves kids from the basics—and I mean basics—to improving and refining their skills,” Elgersma says. Rempel also has helped officiate local hockey games and has helped teach people to skate.

“At the national tournament, I had coaches come up to me and single him out as a great ambassador for Dordt College,” Van Niejenhuis adds.

Early in his time at Dordt, Rempel asked Van Niejenhuis if he would help him set up a hockey camp to help kids develop their skills. As a result, the team has run an annual four-Saturday skills camp for young area hockey players.

“He’s only missed youth hockey practice when we were on road trips,” says his coach, adding that Rempel established the kind of relationships with the parents and players that led them to ask him and his wife, Amy, to move into their homes and care for the children while parents were away.

But as much as he loves hockey, Rempel’s golf game is at least as good as his hockey playing, and he’s exploring playing professionally.

“Jared is a gifted golfer who helped transform our golf team from a last-place finisher in the conference four years ago into a team that finished fourth, second, and third the last three years. Not only is he a talented golfer, Jared has matured into an excellent leader who leads by example,” says Golf Coach Mark Christians. Jared finished his golf career at Dordt with a scoring average of 75.7, which is the all-time low in the history of Dordt College golf.

How did you get so involved in the youth hockey program in Sioux Center?

I have always been involved in hockey. I started skating when I was three and have been around hockey ever since. I coached my sister’s team with my dad when I was fifteen before I came to Dordt. At Dordt, I loved being so close to the rink and wanted to spend as much time there as possible.  I was asked to coach by Marlin Ten Napel, I agreed, and I have been working with him ever since. He is a great guy with a passion for the game and just needed some help with the finer points and with demonstrating drills. I have co-coached with him for the last four years. Since I wasn’t able to make it to all of the games, he took care of the bench during games and I ran and organized the practices. This last year I coached the Bantam team.

How many hockey team members volunteer Jared Rempel's dream is to play professional golf for a time. He'll try doing so next year.with this program?

There are usually five or six guys helping out. Jon Van Keulen puts in a bunch of time, working with the JV team. A couple of players float around, helping different teams and a couple more help one specific group once or twice a week.

Why do you do it?

I do it because I love being at the rink, but I also realize that throughout my life, a ton of people have put in an immense amount of time so that I could play the game. Some of us have jokingly said that we do it to “give back to the game that has given us so much,” but I think that it is pretty true. We have been blessed to have the opportunity to play the great game of hockey. The kids that we coach are the same kids that come to our games on Friday and Saturday nights, so it has become a pretty special and fun relationship.

What has been the highlight of your work with these young players?

I think the biggest thing is the relationships that I have built with the kids. It is awesome to see them improve and to see their love and appreciation for the game mature. It really bothers me to think that I will not be able to see the kids that I have worked with for four years play varsity hockey. I hope I can come back at some time and see them play again. They have a great thing going here, and I cannot wait to see how it matures. I have met so many amazing people through hockey, and I have been extremely blessed by it.

How have you changed over four years in college?

The biggest change in my life is that I got married to Amy. I think that I have become more responsible as I have gone through Dordt. I have become more aware of needs around me and the ways that God can use people in everyday life.

What’s been the best thing about your four years at college?

The best part of Dordt for me is the people that are associated with the college. The professors and the coaches have been outstanding examples of what it means to be a Christian and a follower of God. I have had awesome teammates, and there have been many team highlights throughout the last four years. I have learned that God can use you in what ever you are doing. You do not have to go out and find specific “God” field. 

What’s ahead?

Amy and I are moving back to British Columbia. She plans to work as a nurse next year, but I am not ready to start “real” life yet. I have a job at a golf and country club and hope to continue playing a lot of golf. Like most athletes, I am not ready to give up the dream of playing. If all goes well, I want to play golf professionally or become a teaching pro. I have a lot of work to do on the golf course to make that a reality, but I hope that I am up for the challenge.  Down the road, I am sure that I will teach at some point and would definitely love to continue coaching the game of hockey.

I would like to personally thank my hockey coaches Nate Van Niejenhuis, Bill Elgersma and Adam Jeninga, and my golf coaches Mark Christians, Bryan Kooi, and Tim Van Soelen, along with everyone in the education and history departments.


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