If there’s a skating rink around, there’s a good chance you might see Jack Govan in the vicinity.
When the Lawrenceville resident is not playing for the Notre Dame High ice hockey team, he can be found working at Iceland in Hamilton.
“Hockey’s pretty much all I do, that’s the extent of it,” Govan said. “At Iceland I work as a skate guard, where I’ll stand on the ice while people are public skating. I’ll also do a little bit of front desk and skate rental.”
He would much rather be wearing the skates than renting them out, however, as the sport has been a passion for Govan since age 6. He has followed in his dad’s footsteps, as Matt Govan also played for Notre Dame back in the day.
“It was a little of both—I wanted to play and he wanted me to play,” Govan said. “It was so long ago, it’s kind of hard to remember how I got started. But I’ve got everything to thank him for, giving me the life I have with hockey.”
First-year Notre Dame coach Mike McVey is happy that Govan has that life. Now in his third year of varsity play, Jack got his junior season off to a good start by scoring a hat trick in the Irish’s second game, a 7-2 win over Steinert. The output equaled his career total, as he did not score as a freshman but had three goals and five assists last year. This season, Govan had three goals and one assist through two games.
According to McVey, Govan is able to score goals, but thrives on allowing his teammates to do so.
“We have him playing the wing so far this season,” the coach said. “He has the ability to put up solid numbers, but I believe he is the type of player that creates opportunities from his effort.”
This is McVey’s first year actually coaching Govan, since he was the Irish’s JV coach when Govan was a freshman. The first few months of practice and games were enough to give him a good impression.
“Jack is a hard worker and has a very good attitude,” the coach said. “His work ethic is outstanding. He never takes a shift off.”
‘Carson is a very gifted player offensively… we expect him to shine this season.’
Govan grew up in Montgomery but moved to Lawrence over a year ago. He started his career playing in-house at Iceland before playing travel hockey for the Mercer Chiefs and, currently, the Lawrence Flames.
The first time he laced up his skates, Govan knew what he wanted to do.
“I loved it,” he said. “I loved the sense of brotherhood that came with it. I loved the speed, the intensity of the game. I’ve always been a winger, but honestly, I’ll play wherever coach puts me. I feel like I’m not too defined as a player.”
Govan defined himself as a fairly consistent player last year, picking up points in seven games, including a two-point game against Paramus Catholic.
The three goals against Steinert this year came in varying ways from different angles as he is dangerous all over the place. But mostly, he likes to be right on the goalie’s doorstep to jam it home.
“A lot of my goals come from flow plays and team plays,” he said. “I had one breakaway (against Steinert) but that was from a really good pass. I had a couple rebound goals. I like to plant myself in front of the net and try to stuff them in that way.”
According to teammate Josh Neville, who also plays for the Flames, Neville works both ends of the ice equally well.
“He’s a good two-way player,” Neville said. “He knows how to play in the defensive end and at the forward. He’s always there to set the tone. He’s a big leader with that kind of stuff.”
In assessing his own play, Govan feels he’s a good skater and a good passer.
“I feel like I’m fast when I want to be,” he said. “I still need to work on my speed a little bit and my edgework.”
As he works to get better, McVey will be counting on him in several different ways this season.
“I expect him to be an important part of our team,” the coach said. “He’s on one of our top two lines and he will also see plenty of time on the power play and with our penalty kill.”
The Irish have another Lawrence player on the roster in sophomore Carson Skove. The first-year varsity performer got off to a quick start in the Irish’s first two games, getting a goal and an assist against West Windsor-Plainsboro South and two goals against Steinert.
“Carson is a very gifted player offensively,” McVey said. “He sees the ice well and is deceptively fast. We expect him to shine this season.”