15-year-old NH native wins gold at Youth Olympics

15-year-old NH native Gavin Weeks made the Youth Olympic ice hockey team and won gold in South Korea in December. Photo courtesy of USA Hockey.

By Katy Savage

February 28, 2024

Gavin Weeks started playing hockey when he was 4. A year later, hockey became his obsession — so much so that Gavin began falling  asleep watching videos of professional goalies making incredible saves.

As an 8 or 9-year-old, Gavin earned the nickname “dancing goalie” because in between periods when they played the music, Gavin danced in the net to entertain the crowd. 

“I think he just kind of likes that spotlight,” his mother Sophia Weeks said. “And he likes the pressure. Hockey became 365. It was spring, summer, and fall. He was always on the ice.” 

The Goffstown native, who is now 15, is still obsessed with hockey, and quickly making a name for himself.  

In December, Weeks won a gold medal in the Youth Winter Olympics in South Korea. 

It was a surreal moment for Gavin. He remembers watching the Olympics when he was around 10, thinking, ‘how cool would that be if I was at the Olympics?’ 

“And then it actually happens,” Gavin said. “I don’t even know how to explain it. I got teary-eyed at one point because I was like, ‘that just happened.’”

Despite the accomplishment, Gavin has higher goals for himself. He wants to play ice hockey professionally and is doing everything he can to get there. 

“It’s something he’s got a lot of drive and a lot of passion for,” his mother said. “He’ll tell you that he’s going to be drafted.”

Gavin moved away from home last year to attend the private prep school at Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, New York to focus more on hockey. 

“Most 14 year olds would just be terrified to leave home,” Weeks said. “He never was. He was always like, ‘I love you, mom. I love you guys, but I gotta go. This is my path.’” 

Weeks knew hockey, which requires padding and skates, was a costly sport. And she didn’t know how she felt about her son getting hard pucks shot around his head, but she saw the happiness it brought him.

“I think he takes a lot of pride in being that line of defense where it all comes down to him,” Weeks said. 

Growing up, he looked up to goaltender Jonathan Quick, who Gavin frequently saw play for the Manchester Monarchs in New Hampshire before Quick joined the Vegas Golden Knights and then became the backup goalie for the New York Rangers. Gavin also looked up to Henrik Lundqvist, a goaltender who played for the Rangers for 15 years. 

“Gavin loved how he was so fast and so flexible and always made these crazy saves because he was not big enough to take up the whole goal,” his mother said. 

Gavin said he sees similarities between himself and Sergei Bobrovsky, the goaltender for the Florida Panthers. 

“He gets really low. He’s wicked fast,” Gavin said. “The skating is just like mine.” 

As for making it to the Youth Olympics, Gavin was selected after he attended the National Training Development Program for the USA in Michigan before he got a call to join the team

Gavin was in South Korea for a week after a weeklong training in San Jose, California. 

“It was definitely a different experience,” Gavin said. It was different food, different people, different culture.” 

His mother watched from home in New Hampshire as Gavin’s team earned a 4-0 victory over Czechia to take the gold medal. 

“It’s a proud parent moment,” Weeks said. “It’s just all the emotions that come into play—every cold hockey rink and early morning, the crazy amount of money that you spend. There’s really just not even words. ‘Just proud’ doesn’t really cover it.”

Gavin said he wants to play at Boston College or another Division 1 school and then go to pros after that.

As for being a New Hampshire resident making it to the pros, he said he’s not phased. 

“I hope I’m not the last one to do it, either,” he said.

Author

  • Katy Savage

    Katy Savage is an award-winning reporter with more than 10 years of experience working in daily, weekly and digital news organizations as both an editor and reporter. Based in Enfield, Katy is a New England native and has a passion for telling stories about where she grew up. In her free time, she enjoys running and being outside as much as possible.

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