By Ryan Carlson (@RyanCarlson88):
Hockey is a sport known to have players with names hard to pronounce. For San Jose State freshman forward Etinosa Obaseki who stands at 5’10” 150 pounds, it’s safe say he fits the bill.
An Oakland, CA native, Obaseki started playing street hockey during the Boys and Girls Club afterschool program. Eventually, the club took some kids to an ice rink where they could learn to play ice hockey.
Being from the Bay Area, it is reasonable to assume Obaseki is a San Jose Sharks fan — especially considering he played for the Junior Sharks organization. But at the age of 10, he got the opportunity to go to Buffalo, New York for a hockey camp.
“It was one of my first games and I got to sit in the box toward the top of the arena,” Obaseki said.” It was one of the best experiences ever.”
During his time at the camp, Obaseki attended his first National Hockey League game when the Buffalo Sabers hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning. He got to watch the game from the press box where he developed a love for the Sabers.
A role model for Obaseki is the current face of the Sabers, Jack Eichel, a speedy, high goal-scoring forward like Obaseki himself.
As for San Jose State, Obaseki chose the Bay Area school so he could play the great sport of hockey and pursue his major of digital media so he can pursue a career of a creative director. He is into fashion, clothes and art and has aspirations of working for a rapper or a music group. He has already established himself as a top forward for the team by scoring 10 goals with six assists for a total of 16 points in 22 games.
Known in the locker room and by coaches as Etsy, Obaseki looks up to the older guys on the team who mentor and enjoy playing with him. He looks forward to playing with the boys, game in and game out.
When it comes to pregame rituals for Obaseki, he said multiple times he can’t get in the zone for the game without his music. He has to have his headphones and music for pregame workouts and stretches.
“If I ever forget my headphones for a game, I will go right back to get them,” Obaseki said.
His favorite part of the game is scoring goals and having that feeling of going to his bench after, and having his teammates be excited for him. For Obaseki, there is no better feeling.
The Spartans have seven more games left after winter break and then will have to say goodbye to some important seniors. But, the future is bright for the club with freshman like Obaseki showing production early in his career.