Taking Liberties With… Travis Noe
Position: Captain and forward, U.S. National Inline Hockey Team
Hometown: Thousand Oaks
Youth Teams: Ventura Mariners (ice), Roller Dome and VC Vipers (inline)
California Rubber: You won your second gold medal in five appearances with Team USA at the IIHF World Inline Championship this summer. Does one of those stand out as your favorite roller hockey memory?
Travis Noe: It’s hard to say which gold medal at IIHF I enjoyed more. Scoring a hat trick against Sweden to win my first gold medal (in 2013) and having my parents and grandparents both there in Germany was great. Winning the gold medal, being named tournament MVP and looking up at my grandparents, who at 80 years old made a flight over to Germany to see that, is an experience I will never forget.
The gold this summer, going over to Slovakia, would compete with that. I didn’t have as much of an impact as a player as in 2013. This year, I was captain of the team and played a big leadership role. At 27 years old, realizing I don’t know how many more shots I have to do this made it special. The maturity standpoint versus winning it at 22, I enjoyed it more this year, so that’s probably my favorite memory.
The only other one I could think of was winning the regional championship in college (at UC Santa Barbara) with my best friends from school who weren’t the best roller hockey players in the world, but they really bought into how to play roller hockey the right way. We won it my senior year in a dramatic game. I remember how exciting it was to celebrate that with guys whom I’m now standing up in their weddings five years later. It’s pretty cool.
CR: When you’re not playing for Team USA or in the pro division at major summer tournaments like NARCh or the Pama Pro, what are you up to?
TN: I love what I’m doing. I manage all the distribution in the state of Wisconsin for Kendall-Jackson wines – we have four distributors throughout the state. I’m driving around, selling wine and managing sales teams. I still play ice hockey in a league in Milwaukee.
CR: Who were some of your biggest hockey influences?
TN: When I was kid, Rhett Rakhshani was the guy. He’s the reason I wear No. 9. He was two years older and played for the OC Blades growing up. I remember my first travel tournament, watching him play and he was unbelievable. He’d score at will when we were in our youth. He stopped playing roller at one point because he was so good at ice, but he’s a name that I’ll always remember.
My dad (Jack) coached me my whole life, so I never had any formal coaching until IIHF. Joe Cook’s been a great influence on me. He hired me at Alkali Hockey. I learned some sales and marketing skills under his mentorship. He’s been the coach of our IIHF team all five years I’ve done it. Joe is a great coach, great guy. He taught me a lot about the game for sure.
CR: You’ve been on inline skates since you were five, but did you play other sports growing up?
TN: I did. I was a strong basketball player – I actually quit ice hockey to play that for a while in high school. I played football and ran track as well, but nothing drew me to a sport quite like hockey did, and I went back to roller. I grew 11 inches in one year, going from 5-foot-3 to 6-foot-2.
CR: When you’re in California, where do you like to go skate?
TN: Either Irvine or Huntington Beach. Those are the places with best competition, so I’ll either play in a men’s league or go to a pickup there if I don’t go up to Santa Barbara to play at my old school.
CR: Where do you like to go eat post-game?
TN: I’d probably be dragging the guys to sushi, go get some fresh fish. Go out to a nice sushi dinner or steak dinner.
– Compiled by Chris Bayee
(Oct. 18, 2017)