SAN ANTONIO – After watching Kaden Galatiuk’s puck handling and coordination, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a Twitter video of him training went viral – shared by some of the biggest outlets in sports and viewed millions of times. The video depicts Kaden balancing on a board while working on stickhandling, keeping his eyes forward. Kaden nor his father and coach, Rob Galatiuk, expected the reaction from the video.
“It was pretty neat,” Galatiuk said. “The NHL reached out the following day and said, you know, they want to put this out and they want the hockey world to know Kaden.”
Just nine years old, Kaden has been playing hockey for seven years. His father, a former NCAA Division I goaltender at Lake Superior State and former CHL and AHL pro, built Kaden a miniature hockey rink in the family’s backyard. Kaden trains in the rink and in the family’s garage-converted fitness room daily in addition to practicing with his San Antonio Jr. Rampage and recreational teams. Kaden hopes his hard work will translate into a professional career.
“I want to be able to play in the NHL,” said Kaden. “I think I have to keep putting in work each day to get me better and get me there.”
Per Galatiuk, it was a few years ago that he noticed Kaden’s skillset was above what he would have expected from his son to the point where he’s competing with older kids and mastering skills of much older players.
“We go up to Michigan for summer camps and he dominates a lot of those kids that play hockey all year-round up there so it’s neat to see,” Galatiuk said. ‘They’re like, ‘You’re from San Antonio, Texas?!’”
An unexpected outcome of the video going viral is the number of fellow youth hockey players reaching out to Kaden about their own drills. Both Kaden and Galatiuk understand that the success has come after a persistent work ethic, something both feel can be replicated by others.
“It was pretty cool because it got me excited that they were looking up to me,” Kaden said. “I want other kids to know that if you put in the work, you’re going to get where you want to go.”