There’s a new Freshman bringing offensive prowess for the East Manatee Admirals this season, and he’s already making his mark on the league. Scoring a natural hat trick against Wiregrass this past weekend, Jake Duhaime was named player of the game and I got an opportunity to speak to him as he was wearing the custom gold chain Coach Wessel and co. awards to the player of the game each week. Before we get into what Jake is already doing and planning on doing to the LHSHL, let’s wind it back to where he started.
Born in November of 2004, Jake was already a Lightning fan by courtesy of his family making hockey jerseys a new form of baby clothing. His father, Larry Duhaime, decided to make his fourth birthday the start of his hockey career by bringing home a bag of hockey equipment as a present. “My dad and I started me in hockey by driving me from St. Pete to Ellenton to skate on Saturday mornings from 6-8am. My favorite part was the two chocolate glazed donuts I got, one before and one after each skate.” Jake briefly moved to Nashville for two years and became a regular at the rink after starting to play organized hockey at age 5. His passion for the sport has always been a factor of his game and he once stopped Barry Trotz to talk about Blue Line pairings while Trotz was still with Nashville.
Jake moved back to Tampa in 2012 and played on the Gulf Coast Flames before moving up to Peewee AA in 2014. He played rec while playing travel every year and still credits one of his best hockey memories to scoring two goals in a 2-1 overtime championship win in an Ellenton Bantam/Midget Rec League. In 2017-18 Jake won the state title with the 14u AA Scorpions, and is beginning his 2019-2020 season while both starting his high school career and playing for the U16AA Flames. Jake is going to Palmetto High School in Manatee County specifically for their AICE/Cambridge program. Jake isn’t a stranger to academic success as he graduated a Cambridge Middle School program with high honors and once received a Gubernatorial award for a perfect score on an FCAT Mathematics exam. He looks forward to pursuing a career in law with an emphasis in sports management, but his hobbies outside hockey include fishing, football, and music, so he is considering producing music as an alternative. Jake also coaches a squirt/peewee rec team in Ellenton to build on his leadership skills and give back to helping the sport that he loves.
In his own words-
“I am looking forward to this season of HS hockey and the challenges to come. It has been a bit of an adjustment getting used to the size and speed of some of the players. My teammates and staff have been great in helping me so far! I am really looking forward to having a solid season, helping my team, and hopefully a strong playoff run. I am thankful for this opportunity and am excited to be a part of the EDP program. I'd also like to thank the people who have helped me to date including but not limited to friends, family, facility management and staff, teachers, and coaches who have helped me so far!”