batch

Josh Batch: ‘It’s fast, skilled and violent’

Josh Batch has been a professional ice hockey player with Cardiff Devils since 2011. After a decade in a temporary tent, this is the Devil’s first season in Cardiff Bay’s new Ice Arena Wales. I asked Josh a bit more about the sport and what inspires him.

batch
Photo: Cardiff Devils

How did you become a pro ice hockey player?

It all started when I was 8 and saw the Mighty Ducks film! Growing up it was the only sport I really loved, but I never believed it would be my job until I signed my first professional contract when I was 19.

Describe the game in three word.

Fast, skilled, and violent.

Why should UK sports fans go watch an American game?

It’s the most watched indoor sport in the UK. We have some of the most passionate fans you will find. It’s a game that anyone can enjoy as it has speed, skill, and occasionally fights!

How have you progressed during your six seasons with the Cardiff devils?

I’ve came on leaps and bounds since I’ve been here, particularly in the past three years as I’ve settled as a defenceman, when before that I switched back and forth from forward and defence.

This year the Devils moved from the ‘Big Blue Tent’ to the new Ice Arena Wales. What difference has it made to the team?

We have to be a lot faster as we now play our home games on a bigger ice pad. It’s also boosted our morale as we get to work in a nice brand new ice rink every day instead of a battered tent that was almost falling down!

Is ice hockey a masculine sport? I definitely flinched a lot when I saw a match early this year!

It’s definitely masculine! Any sport with body contact will naturally produce a lot of aggression and masculinity. There’s also a big culture of playing down injuries and not appearing hurt, which is rooted in masculinity and not showing weakness.

How do you support each other as team?

Throughout the game we verbally encourage each other and stick up for one another on the ice if a teammate is being taken advantage of.

You’re also studying a degree in Economics at Cardiff Met Uni. How do you fit that in with ice hockey?

I have to miss some lectures as they conflict with our training times but the lecturers are very understanding and always willing to help out if I need it.

Photo: Twitter/Josh Batch
Photo: Twitter/Josh Batch

What keeps you grounded after a match, whatever the result?

Usually the fact that I have to go to uni the next morning! I’m studying Economics at Cardiff Met. But in all seriousness, one win doesn’t mean a lot. We’re competing for the league trophy so every single game matters. Until we win the league, we won’t be fully satisfied.

Is there a sense of responsibility towards your fans?

Yes, after being here so long I really have a sense of how much the Devils and our success means to them. All we can do is give 100% every game. If we do that then we know the fans will be behind us completely.

What’s the best moment of your career so far?

There’s two! Winning the Challenge Cup in 2015 and representing Great Britain.

What do you do during off season?

Not too much outside of the training to be honest! But I will usually meet up with friends at least once a week and have a few drinks as it’s not something I get to do very often during the season whilst juggling uni and hockey.

What should people do when they’re visiting Cardiff?

Check out the Bay, there’s a few great restaurants and the views over to Penarth are great. And of course come to a Devils game!

Who inspires you?

I don’t really have a role model in hockey any more as I don’t really watch hockey outside of our league and competition! As I get older I’m mainly inspired to help people, something that I’m trying to figure out how best to do given my current position.

This weekend, Josh and his Cardiff Devils teammates are going to ‘Brave the Shave’ for Macmillan Cancer. You can sponsor Joshua here.

Follow @JoshBatch41 and @CardiffDevils on Twitter.

collage

#TacheTalk: Twelve Months On (Part 2)

Last Movember, I started #TacheTalk, a blog speaking to different men about their lives, health and happiness. This year I’ve interviewed more men (which you’ll be able to read about on here very soon) but I was also keen to keep the old conversations going. Here’s the second part of my catch-up with the original thirty guys, finding out what’s changed and challenged them over the last year.

hadley

Hadley

After graduating this year, Hadley set up his own mobile chiropractor practise in South Wales: ‘As I’m self-employed, work tends to consume every hour of the day and there never seems to be time to have a break. I’ve neglected the gym, football and playing the guitar.’

 

jack

Jack

This year, Jack graduated, got a new job, a new flat in Peckham and even a new shoulder. ‘I dislocated it, so had surgery and they fixed me up. It was an interesting experience, quite liberating. It’s good when surgery goes well. There’s always a risk with it and that can get you thinking about all sorts of things.’

‘Everything has challenged me. The last few months has been a big big time. Sometimes those things feel a bit daunting but suddenly you’re on the other side of it and it all seems rather easy in the end, although at the time I’m sure it wasn’t. I relish the challenges, but they are challenges nonetheless.’

 

matt-t

Matt T

In September last year, Matt was diagnosed with testicular cancer. When I spoke to him in May, he was in remission and recently started a new job in Harrogate. ‘I’m getting to do a lot of different, interesting research and development projects, it’s basically my dream job!’

‘A challenge for me has been staying positive about the future. I’m still having ongoing issues with depression and trying to fight through that. The hormone side of things hasn’t fully settled down since my cancer treatment so I’m waiting for doctors to decide what to do about that. Work has really helped me through it as it’s given me some stability and takes my mind off things. It really makes a difference doing something you love and enjoy, life is too short for the 9 to 5 grind!

‘One of the most inspiring things I’ve seen recently was Elon Musk’s presentation about the future of the human race and becoming a multi-planetary species. It really gave me hope for the future.’

 

george

George

‘It’s been a tough year. I was signed off work for a month in April because of stress but having that time off taught me how to cope with stress and anxiety better and put myself first. I’m lucky my boss is incredibly supportive, because I’ve talked to him about it before.’

As well as getting back behind the DJ decks at club nights, this year George became a Birmingham City season ticket holder. ‘I’m inspired by the sound of Tilton Road End. The Birmingham City anthem is Keep Right On. I couldn’t ask for a better club anthem.’

 

matt

Matt B

In May, Matt celebrated his first wedding anniversary. He’s also changed roles in his company and been on his first surfing trip. Every week Matt and I now go to the local Parkrun 5k with our friend Kate. This week he ran a personal best of 19:49. He hopes to qualify as an actuary in the next year, with just three of his fifteen exams left to do.

‘I’m inspired by Abraham Lincoln. He was a self-educated man, and that desire to further his knowledge and better himself stayed with him his whole life. That’s something I want to emulate.’

nathan

Nathan

Nathan’s second child was born on Christmas Day. This year he’s won his second competitive physique and bodybuilding show, launched a new business venture and written an ebook.

‘Adjusting to another child at home has been challenging, but the relationship with my wife has strengthened and we now work closely as a team to support and help each other. Another dieting phase for my training early in the year was also challenging with the new born but made my win even more rewarding. Having a better life balance and continued support from family and friends helped immensely.’

‘At home I am constantly inspired by my hardworking wife who balances being a housewife and motherhood, as well as managing to start her own online business. I’m hoping for another year of laugher and love, where my family continue to grow happily and healthily.’

Follow Nathan on Instagram and Facebook

 

dave

Dave

Last month, Dave accepted a new role working for Tearfund in South Sudan. Before moving, he sold off most of his possession for the second time, including the headphones he showed me last year.

‘People are always challenging but life isn’t really worth it without them. In the end, everyone wants the same thing: to love and be loved. Once you work that out, you can see through all the other mess. It’s been helpful to be truthful and honest in situations where people are mucking you about.’

‘Hopefully while I’m in South Sudan, I’ll cross off lots from my bucket list. I’ve already been in a helicopter!’

This month, I’ve shaved off my beard to grow a moustache and will be running my first ever 10k race. It’s to raise money for Movember so they can keep research and conservations on men’s health going around the country. You can sponsor me on my MoSpace or by texting ‘JKMO90 £10’ to 70070. Thank you.

collage

#TacheTalk: Twelve Months On (Part 1)

Last Movember, I started #TacheTalk, a blog speaking to different men about their lives, health and happiness. This year I’ve interviewed more men (which you’ll be able to read about on here very soon) but I was also keen to keep the old conversations going. Here’s the first part of my catch-up with the original thirty guys, finding out what’s changed and challenged them over the last year.

James

James

James has switched job from Store Manager in a busy London running shop to lifeguard at the local swimming pool. ‘It’s been challenging changing career but knowing I make my family proud has got me through!’ His now has three children and recently started a new relationship.

 

ben-p

Ben

Ben’s lost his beard, become a ‘part-time monk’ in the Community of St Anselm, and ran faster than ever before. He’s also written an excellent resource at The Children’s Society, helping youth leaders tackle sensitive issues including mental health and safe relationships.

‘I’m challenged by how self orientated I am. Being single can be a challenge, although committing to being single whilst being a part time monk definitely helps. But there are still times you can feel lonely and lacking that person you can go to, talk to, hang out with.’

‘Thoughts, ideas and experiences that make me think about the world differently are what I relish and seek out. It helps me realise how incredible the world we live in is. Just think about how much human collaboration it takes to drink your cup of tea.’

The Community of St Anselm has a strong focus on listening to God and a disciplined prayer life. ‘This time next year, I hope I’m able to pray for three minutes without getting distracted and able to listen to God for one minute without getting distracted!’

Read Ben’s Humble Theology blog on Medium 

 

max-r

Max

Just after our talk last year, Max travelled around Asia for a couple of months. Now he’s focused on his new career at an international company. He’s still at Craven Cottage supporting Fulham most weekends.

 

john-h

John

‘Since our chat, I became fed up with my old job, went back to a mental health professional, got a new job and got engaged. So not much, a quiet year really. I’ve been challenged by my mental health and encouraged by my friends, family and the new sense of calling that I now have as a Youth Worker.’

 

dorian-w

Dorian

Dorian moved from London back to America and in August, he got married. Congratulations Dorian! ‘Obviously, moving, especially to a new country, is a big challenge. It’s the seventh big move I’ve made, and the second time across an ocean to a new country, so I like to think that I’m getting good at it.’

‘An incredibly important part of moving is framing it right in your mind. Even when I had to move back in with my parents a few years ago I was sure seek out new friends and activities to make it feel like a step forward. Thankfully here my wife’s friends have been very welcoming, I’ve been able to meet new people as well, and I’m working on a new hobby, disc golf!

 

joe-t

Joe

Joe graduated in the Summer and moved from Cardiff to Canterbury to start work as a chiropractor. ‘I’m in the ‘beginner’ phase of my career and within a year I’d love to feel like I’m refining my skills and perfecting my craft. Right now, I’m to trying to put it all together!’

 

kristian-t

Kristian

Over the last year, Kristian has performed in a Christmas show in Lichfield and a UK tour of The Railway Children. He’s lived in Dubai since August, working as a cast member at a brand new theme park.

‘The most challenging thing this year has actually been deciding whether to accept the jobs or not. The last two jobs had many pros and cons to them and by really looking at those pros and cons it helped me to make the right decision.’

‘I hope this year I can carry on up my career ladder and keep being paid for what I love and what I have trained to do. The performance industry is a very inconsistent one. You could be working one week earning lots of money and then the week after have to work numerous jobs to pay the London rent.’

Follow Kristian on Instagram @Kristian_Turner

This month, I’ve shaved off my beard to grow a moustache and will be running my first ever 10k race. It’s to raise money for Movember so they can keep research and conservations on men’s health going around the country. You can sponsor me on my MoSpace or by texting ‘JKMO90 £10’ to 70070. Thank you.