My Y Story: Jesse Goldstein
Youth Fitness & Sports Director
Torrance-South Bay YMCA
I began playing ice hockey seriously at 9-years-old and, for the last 25 years, I’ve continued to play, coach and referee. As a kid, I fell in love with hockey in 1988 when “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky joined the Los Angeles Kings. I wanted to be like Gretzky, as did many of my friends and teammates. I admired not only his talent as a goal scorer, but also his leadership.
After college, when I realized playing in the NHL was not in the cards for me, my life took a different direction. I began a career in technology sales. While my co-workers and paycheck were nice, the work was unfulfilling and I knew I had to make a change. That change came when a friend pointed out that I’m happiest when volunteering as a youth ice hockey coach.
Within a year, I found myself on elementary school playgrounds all over Los Angeles running physical education and play programs. Shortly thereafter, I knew this was the path that I was destined to be on and decided to go back to school to receive my Master’s degree in Recreation Administration from Cal State Long Beach.
Playing ice hockey, then mentoring kids through the sport has had a huge impact on my life by shaping me into the person I am today. Now, as a Program Director for Torrance-South Bay YMCA, I have the ability to use sports and recreation as a youth development tool for hundreds of children in my community. It’s an amazing feeling to build a program and watch kids grow into happier, healthier people as a result.
We are honored at the Y to have the support of the LA Kings and their vision of making hockey more accessible. Through our YMCA LA Kings Ball Hockey program, we have an incredible opportunity to introduce the sport to more communities while removing barriers to play, such as equipment costs and misconceptions about the game. We teach the fundamentals of hockey to boys and girls, ages 5-14, through introductory classes, hockey clinics and league play. However, beyond teaching stick handling, shooting and goal scoring, the Y and the LA Kings have an important role to play in young people’s development. Just as I drew these important lessons from my love of hockey, we’re instilling values of sportsmanship, teamwork and leadership.
I encourage everyone to give hockey a shot! To learn more about our LA Kings Ball Hockey program, sign up online or visit us at Torrance-South Bay YMCA.
At the Y, our work is only possible through the efforts and leadership of incredible staff members, like Jesse Goldstein. Visit us online for YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles career opportunities or to sign up as a volunteer.