Jackson DeAdder said he attended a lot of Washington Capitals hockey games growing up.
He admires Capitals captain and left winger Alex Ovechkin as well as Pavel Datsyuk, a centre who played for the Detroit Red Wings from 2001-16. These National Hockey League greats, among others, started their playing careers at a young age with hopes of one day making it to the next level.
Now, DeAdder hopes to do the same.
DeAdder, a Westminster native, attended Loyola Blakefield in Towson for three years prior to earning a spot on the Boston Junior Bruins, a junior hockey organization based in Marlborough, Massachusetts. He plans to forgo his senior year at Loyola Blakefield to pursue his dream of playing collegiate hockey.
“It’s mixed emotions,” DeAdder said. “I’m definitely excited to get started and continue to get better and continue my path to college hockey but I’m also nervous about it too. Living on your own at 16 years old is going to be a big change for me but I’m definitely excited for it.”
Junior hockey programs are available to high school students and graduates who seek a greater challenge to further their career in the sport. The purpose of the Junior Bruins development program is to prepare the player for career advancement with either a collegiate program or professional opportunity.
DeAdder tried out for the Junior Bruins in March and was invited back in April for another tryout where he received an offer for a team spot.
“The competition was a lot faster and a lot more competitive in general,” DeAdder said. “I was blindsided by it at first because it was a big step coming from Maryland hockey. I was able to adjust and I performed pretty well.”
“High school hockey can be very up and down, you can have some really good years and some not so good years,” DeAdder said. “I think leading up to my freshman year, there had been some decent years and we were competing against a lot of other schools in the area who were also pulling top players in the area … When I came in, I guess I was kind of the last piece to the puzzle they needed to get their first championship in 61 years.”
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As a freshman at Loyola Blakefield, DeAdder helped the Dons to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association “B” Conference championship in 2017, their first in 61 years. The Dons beat Gilman School 9-1 in a rematch of the previous season’s championship in which the Greyhounds won.
The Dons found themselves in a familiar position the following year when they faced Saints Peter & Paul in the MIAA “B” Conference championship. The Sabres defeated the Dons twice during the regular season, but the Dons prevailed in overtime, 4-3, to win their second consecutive championship.
Last season, Loyola finished first in the MIAA “B” regular season with a 7-0-3 record, but lost to Saints Peter & Paul 3-2 in the playoff semifinals. DeAdder earned all-conference honors in the winter.
DeAdder led the team in scoring as a sophomore and junior, and said every season got a little more difficult as talented players graduated. He’s set to live with a host family when he moves to Marlborough at the end of August.
DeAdder has been playing hockey since he was 10 years old and plays left wing. He said he has experience at every forward position — left wing, center, and right wing — but as he got older and played at a higher level, left wing remained his position of comfort.
He also shoots left-handed, which helps.
“Hockey is such an exciting sport to play and you can really ask anyone who watches it,” DeAdder said. “They’ll agree it’s an extremely exciting sport and it’s obviously very different from other sports because it’s played on frozen water. Anyone that’s been to an NHL game knows the excitement it brings and the excitement is still there at the youth level, too.”