SAN ANTONIO — When you think of sports in San Antonio, you may automatically think of the San Antonio Spurs, UTSA football or the Dallas Cowboys.
And no one will fault you for thinking that about the Alamo City but one 12-year-old kid is looking to change that view.
San Antonio's Kaden Galatiuk is something of a hockey prodigy. He is a whiz with hockey sticks and set up his own hockey course in his home to develop his game.
It also helps he comes from a solid hockey lineage.
His father, Rob Galatiuk, is a former San Antonio Rampage player and is now his coach.
And if you need more proof of Kaden's hockey skills, his social media feed is full of videos of him showing just how much he loves the game.
All his passion and hard work recently paid off as he got an invite to participate in Whistle's "I Could Do That" show where he participates in a series of NHL-based challenges and he shined brightly!
We had a chance to catch up with Kaden aka "The Little Magic Man" about his hockey journey, visiting the old San Antonio hockey teams, and so much more.
Jeff: Coming from San Antonio, how did you get interested in hockey? San Antonio is a Spurs basketball and football town!
Kaden: My dad played professional hockey, and I would watch the NHL games with him and my mom when I was little. My cousin played in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers, so I instantly fell in love with the sport at a very young age.
My mom is from Michigan and my dad is Canadian, so they grew up watching hockey. They moved here when they were in their 20s because my dad played for the San Antonio Iguanas. San Antonio soon became their permanent home.
Jeff: Did you go to any Rampage hockey games in San Antonio? Did you meet any of the players?
Kaden: Yes, I would attend the San Antonio Rampage games. My dad played a few games with them, so I was very interested to learn more about the team. After my viral video, a few of the players reached out and connected with me.
I was fortunate enough to meet Zach Nastasiuk and Rob O’Gara and was given the opportunity to have them over to my house to play on my synthetic backyard rink. I was very sad and disappointed to see the team leave San Antonio.
Jeff: Tell us more about your hockey journey from San Antonio to where you are now. And how was it competing in the Whistle NHL Hockey challenge?
Kaden: I started by watching the game and playing with mini sticks in my living room. Then we got a synthetic rink in my backyard when I was three, so I could work on my skating.
I started playing recreational hockey, and then soon got into travel hockey with the Jr. Rampage. My passion for the game has grown, and my desire to get better has pushed me to work hard every day at the sport.
Being from San Antonio, I understand it’s going to be a difficult journey, but I need to focus on myself and my development. It was an amazing experience to be able to participate in the NHL Hockey challenge. I am honored to receive these opportunities, but it was even more special to me because I was able to include my teammates.
We compete and practice hard every day together, so it was nice to be able to go and showcase all of our talents.
Jeff: Who are some hockey players you look up to and model your game after?
Kaden: I look up to Connor McDavid who is the captain of the Edmonton Oilers. I admire his speed, leadership, and work ethic. He inspires me to become a better version of myself every day and to continue to work on my weaknesses.
Jeff: What do you have to say to the city of San Antonio and those who have supported you?
Kaden: I am very thankful to the city of San Antonio and to all the people who have supported me along my journey so far including my family, friends, teachers, coaches, and teammates who continue to support me and push me to be the best version of myself.
I realize the platform that I have, and I am humbled and honored to be able to do what I love. My platform allows me an opportunity to play a sport in a city where it is not highly recognized.
I can only hope and wish that I inspire other young athletes in San Antonio and across the world to chase after their dreams and believe anything is possible.