Jeppe has an international sportsman in its ranks in Ryan Boyd, who will be going to New Zealand in April with the South African National under-18 Ice Hockey team to play in an International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Group three qualifying tournament.
It’s not the first time that Ryan has represented his country. He played for the under-18 national side last year, and in February this year, he was in the SA under-20 team that played a series of matches against Chinese Taipei in Cape Town. They won the series and he was named the IIHF player of the tournament.
Ryan’s love affair with Ice Hockey began when he was 10 years old and a beginner ice skater at Kempton Park’s Festival Mall rink.
“I met a hockey player practising there and I was immediately interested,” he said. “He showed me a few things and said I should join his club, Kempton Park Sabres. I started in the junior section where they suggested I go for goalkeeper, and that’s where I’ve played ever since.”
The thrill and risky nature of playing goalkeeper in the fastest team game in the world, with pucks being smashed at him at high speed, is exactly what appeals to Ryan’s nature.
“I love the intensity and the adrenaline rush,” he said. “It’s a physical game, and that’s what I like about it.”
He admits to being hit by the puck, just about every game. “Mostly it’s where the helmet and face mask protect me, or the body padding, but I did once get my collar bone broken when I got hit where there was no protection.”
Ryan has already been a reserve for the senior mens team and is in the SA mens squad this year, so senior national colours are probably not that far away.
“Hopefully that will happen this year,” he says, “and after matric I’m hoping to go to Sweden, where they take the game very seriously. I want to play, and maybe study there as well.”
Until then, there’s matric to get through, and Ryan is no slouch in the academic field. “I’m not in the top 10 in my grade,” he said, “but I am doing OK and I realise the importance of good grades, so I will be working hard this year.”
He is happy at Jeppe, he says. “I’ve made good friends here and the school appreciates my achievements, even though it’s not in a school sport.”
National colours are a massive achievement and Jeppe High School for Boys is very proud of Ryan Boyd.