Jr. Gulls’ Hebert making impact on lives of San Diego youth
Jay Hebert knows the meaning of the phrase “when one door closes, another one opens.”
After he retired from playing hockey professionally in 2003, Hebert moved to San Diego in 2004 to start his new career as a strength and conditioning coach at a sports performance center.
“I ended up training many of the youth hockey players in the area and met Larry Cahn, who was the coaching director with the Jr. Gulls at the time,” said Hebert. “He offered me a head coaching position with the club in 2005 and I’ve been here ever since.”
This season, Hebert is coaching the Jr. Gulls’ 16U AA team and is the longest-tenured coach in the program.
“Jay has been integral to the growth and continued expansion of hockey in Southern California,” said Jr. Gulls’ 14U AA coach Noah Babin. “He certainly gives his all to assist the kids and have as much success as they can.”
Over the years, Hebert has coached numerous players with the Jr. Gulls who have gone on to play junior, college and pro hockey, including Chad Ruhwedel, who was part of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup championship team in 2017.
Hebert, who pulls double duty as the U.S. senior player advisor for Ice Exposure, LLC, has also coached Thatcher Demko (Vancouver prospect) and Tyler Moy (Nashville prospect), as well as pro veteran Jonathan Parker, Michigan commit Josh Groll, former NCAA players Grant Gallo, Nik Olsson, Robert Francis, JT Osborn, Kory Grahl, Steven Sherman and Evan Schmidbauer, and current NCAA players Alec McCrea, Nate Kallen, Dominique Petrie, Evan Plotnik, Eric Wright and Nick Schultze.
“It’s all about the players,” said Hebert. “I love to coach and teach the game and I believe sports are a great tool to teach life lessons. I hope that not only am I able to have an impact on their hockey career, but hopefully on their days after hockey is long gone.”
Photo: Ruhwedel (middle), flanked by Hebert on left and Hebert’s wife Emily on right
— Matt Mackinder
(Oct. 19, 2018)