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Ohio University hockey player Noah Holt (9) discusses his hockey career in Bird Ice Arena, Feb. 7, 2024, in Athens, Ohio.

Hockey: Noah Holt's journey from Alaska to Athens

Brookville is a town about 20 miles outside of Dayton with a population of just barely 6,000 people. It’s one of those towns where everyone knows everything about everyone else, like something out of “Friday Night Lights.” In that same vein, there isn’t much to do there, so most people flock to the local high school football games to cheer on their favorite rivalries. Virtually every athletic kid ended up playing football, so how did Noah Holt end up on skates? 

Holt is Ohio’s newest addition to its star-studded lineup of forwards. The Bobcat’s last breakout newcomer, Luc Reeve, ended up winning both ACHA Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Holt has been on a similarly impressive trajectory in his first season, earning 35 points, the third most on the entire team. Holt ended up on an ice rink and not turf because of his family.

“The whole town kind of revolves around football, but my older brother decided he wanted to play hockey because my dad was interested,” said Holt. “I just wanted to do whatever my older brother did, so I followed suit.”

His older brother eventually stopped playing hockey, but Holt stuck with it – and that took him pretty far from home. His juniors career started in Springfield, Illinois, but he only played half a season there before being traded to the Kenai Brown Bears, a team in Alaska. Kenai is 4,000 miles away from Brookville, and Holt felt every inch of distance between him and home.

“Kenai was tough, especially the first year. We weren’t doing very well, and it was just hard being away from family,” said Holt.

But things eventually started looking up, with Holt finding family among his teammates and getting promoted to team captain. Plus, it's hard to be sad when you’re in one of the most stunning natural environments on Earth.

“Alaska was great, the scenery is just unbeatable,” Holt said. “We were having bonfires on the beach with volcanoes in the background. It is another world up there.”

The natural beauty of Athens helped Holt choose to continue his career by playing for Ohio. It also helped close the gap between him and his family, plus coaches Lionel Mauron and Jamieson McVicar made him feel more than welcome.

“Lio and Jamie did some heavy recruiting on me … I just really liked the effort they were putting in and I wanted to go to a bigger school with good scenery …. So it was just a combination of all that and it was meant to be,” said Holt.

While Holt spends most of his time on the ice in Athens, hitting a puck around isn’t his only hobby. 

“We’ll go golfing just like three or four times a week and then if we’re not golfing, we’re fishing,” said Holt. “I’m not that good at it. I seem to get my lure tangled in the tree all the time. But yeah, every year my family and I go on a trip to the lake and it’s just like fishing for a whole week.”

Holt had always been an outdoorsy sort of person. Growing up on a farm made him love that kind of thing, especially with the number of animals his family still has. Besides his beloved Labrador Louie, Holt’s family also has four ducks that live in “their own little world on the pond” and an abundance of chickens.

Spending the majority of his life on a farm has reflected itself in Holt’s personality, specifically regarding his work ethic. Of course, no one wants to be caught not doing their chores on the farm.

“There’s a lot of chores and stuff to do around the house, lots of discipline on doing those and if you don’t do those ... Your parents are going to be mad,” Holt said. “Just like working harder on the house and helping my dad … shaped me into who I am.”

At the end of the day, Holt is glad he chose to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and pursue hockey over football because that is ultimately what landed him in his new home in Athens.

“I love it, it’s seriously the best place on Earth,” Holt said. “I mean fans pack this place (Bird Arena) every weekend, the hockey is great. I love all my teammates and coaches. I love the school. It’s seriously like a dream come true.”


Emma Erion

Managing Editor

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