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.
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.
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.