Minuteman Flames in the News

MetroWest Daily News - Sports Section, March 17, 2004

Javelins to pucks

At Medfield High, Obi Aduba finished second in the state meet in the javelin and eighth in the nationals. He was also a standout soccer player. So how'd the son of Nigerian parents wind up playing hockey?

"My friend, Jay Bletzer, was playing for the Walpole Junior Stars and said 'Why don't you try out?'" says Aduba. "I hesitated because I didn't want to stop playing soccer. But I saw hockey as an opportunity for a college (scholarship)."

Aduba put the javelin and soccer ball away. "I don't miss soccer so much, but I miss track."

His two sisters, Chi-Chi and Uzo, were track stars at Medfield. Chi-Chi is still running track (at Penn State). Uzo graduated from Boston University last year and is pursuing a theater career in New York.

While still attending Medfield High, Aduba played two years of hockey for the Junior Stars. "It went pretty well," he says. Last year he helped the team get to the league championship game. The UMass coaches saw him play at the end of the season and were impressed.

"My coach told me they were looking at me. It made me more focused and determined."

Playing forward for UMass, Aduba, a freshman, has recorded five assists. He sees the talent ahead of him and has accepted playing on the fourth line. "I'm all right with it," says the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder.

Friday will be his first time playing at the FleetCenter. He realizes hockey isn't exactly a national craze in Nigeria. "I know soccer is a more traditional sport (for Nigerians)," says Aduba, who was born in this country and laced up skates for the first time when he was 5 years old.

When Cahoon came to Medfield to recruit Aduba, "I never enjoyed a recruiting trip more," says the coach. "His parents are special people. They'd given him a sense of what was important. He wanted to come (to UMass) for an education."