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John Hojek


John is from the Southside of Chicago and has been playing hockey since he was 6 years old. He played throughout high school as a defenseman and was a captain for two years. When he was a freshman in high school September 11th  2001 had taken place and shortly after during his sophomore year the U.S. invaded Iraq. John joined the United States Marine Corps at age 17 with his parents’ permission. At 18 he graduated high school early and was sent off to boot camp. John served two combat deployments in Iraq with First Battalion Seventh Marines as an infantryman. During his time in the Marine Corps he had gone through experiences overseas that showed him firsthand the importance of fitness, not only for yourself, but for the people around you as well. Physical training demonstrated in the military not only physically betters you, but it teaches you that within yourself you can and will find the strength and courage to overcome your biggest obstacle…you.

Upon completion of his service John returned home to Chicago and became a firefighter for a few southern suburbs of the city. During this time he was battling what is known as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from service in Iraq. John had become extremely unhealthy and was making poor choices.  His biggest regret was not going on to play college hockey. On January 1, 2012 he made a commitment to himself that it was time for a change. He held himself accountable and over the course of 7 months lost 75lbs through diet and exercise. He decided that helping others with mental and physical wellbeing is what he wanted to do for a living. John then decided to change careers from firefighting to training.

John went back to school at a college in Chicago and found out he was still eligible for sports, though they didn’t have hockey they had a track and field team he could join. At age 25 he joined the track and field team as a thrower and competed for a year. It was then John realized that fitness, training, and teamwork saved his life. He didn’t realize how much a team environment meant to him until he had come back. It was like being in the service except a lot better! It was college sports! John decided after his first year he wanted to play college hockey, the one thing he never got to do. John randomly found Lyndon State College and decided to check it out, he had no idea where Vermont even was. It only took one visit for him to fall in love.

In 2013 he came to Lyndon State to play on their club hockey team and study in their exercise science program with strength and conditioning being his concentration. John played and studied for a year at Lyndon. Then he moved to Boston for a year to again compete in track and field as a thrower for UMass Boston.  He immediately missed Lyndon State and the North East Kingdom. After one year in Boston John decided to come back to Lyndon State.

John is currently a junior in the exercise science program at LSC and will graduate next year. He currently plays for the hockey team and helps train the lacrosse team as an assistant strength and conditioning.  His concentration is exercise science and minoring in psychology. John has an interest in doing research on PTSD and fitness/sports. He also has an interest in working with local first responders and military personal so that when the job calls they can deliver safely and effectively. John absolutely loves this area and hopes to find some property after graduation to begin a life of training and farming.

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