METHUEN — When he was 4 years old Jared Haney was involved in the Learn to Skate program through Methuen Youth Hockey. Then he was diagnosed with leukemia.
“My bones got brittle, so I decided I couldn’t skate any more,” Haney said. “I didn’t want to play hockey ever because I was afraid to get back on the ice.”
Haney suffered from acute lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, and it has been in remission for the last 13 years.
“I still go for checkups once a year,” Haney said. “At first it was once a month, then once every three and then every six months. Now, I go once a year, and they check everything from my spleen to my blood work — so far so good.”
When Haney was 10, his cousin, Brian Austin, revived Haney’s desire to play hockey.
“My cousin gave me the magic skates, and that’s what got me to play hockey again,” said Haney, now an 18-year-old senior at Methuen High School. “He gave me the skates and told me they were magic. They had lime green laces on them. I still believe they are magic.”
Although he eventually outgrew the skates, he continued to wear green laces, through Methuen Youth Hockey to Methuen High School, where he played four years as a forward for the Rangers.
“‘Green-laces Kid,’ I’m used to it,” Haney said, laughing about his nickname. “Even my mother looks for my laces to find me on the ice. I don’t think she even knows what number I am.”
The first three years of Haney’s high school career, Chris Hudon was the Methuen coach. Denny Egan was the coach this season for Haney.
“It was tough playing one system for three years and then learning a whole new system my senior year,” said Haney, who this season had five goals and three assists for the 1-17-2 Rangers. “But when we did it right, it worked.”
Midway through the season, the Rangers went through a big change when eight of Haney’s teammates were either removed from the team or decided to quit. Haney took it in stride.
“It was tough to lose teammates,” Haney said. “I’ve been playing with them since I started playing in youth hockey. I didn’t want to see them go, but coach said we had to move on and everybody started having fun.”
Haney believes that Egan is the ideal person to guide Methuen into the future and back atop the Merrimack Valley Conference-Dual County League.
“I think Egan is the right coach to put Methuen back on the map and have the team respect him and play hard for him,” Haney said. “I think he’s a good coach. He knows how to have fun but then if you cross that line, he puts the hammer down.”
Haney’s final MHS hockey game was a 3-0 loss to Haverhill on Feb. 16.
“I don’t think it’s hit yet,” said Haney, who also plays soccer and tennis at Methuen. “But that first couple of weeks that I don’t go to practice after school and even at graduation, just sitting there, that’s when I’m going to realize I’m probably never going to play hockey again. It’s going to be sad, but right now it hasn’t hit me yet. It’s too early.”
Haney’s planning on attending college, but says he doesn’t plan to play hockey. He’s still filling out college applications and is undecided about his major although he is leaning toward sports management or communications.
Ironically, Haney didn’t play the sport he loves the most. That honor belongs to football and the New England Patriots. Being a huge football fan led Haney to the Super Bowl this year in Arizona.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Haney said. “Just the whole experience around it and how much the NFL puts into one game — all the excitement and hype. It was just so much fun.”
Even though his beloved Patriots lost 17-14 to the New York Giants, Haney relished in the fact he saw his idol play for the NFL title.
“Tom Brady is cool under pressure and he knows how to answer questions,” Haney said. “Plus, he has a hot girlfriend. Everything and anything about Tom Brady is awesome.”
While his idol is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, his heroes are a lot closer to him — his parents Buddy and Linda.
“They’ve stuck by me my whole life, through the leukemia, sports and school,” Haney said. “They’ve helped me become who I am today.”
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