Eric Locke is currently a fifth-year forward on the University of Ottawa (U of O) Gee-Gees men’s hockey team with aspirations of becoming a doctor.
Prior to joining the Gee-Gees, Locke’s hockey career dates back to the 2008-09 season when he played on the Mississauga Reps Minor Midget AAA of the Greater Toronto Minor Midget Hockey League (GTMMHL).
“I was four or five. My buddies down the street were starting and my brother was a year older and he was starting, so I got put in at the same time and it was great to start the game then but also be with friends,” Locke said about his start in the sport.
Prior to his stint at the University of Ottawa, Locke played for the Windsor Spitfires, Barrie Colts, and the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men of USports, as well as seven games for Canada’s U18 team in the 2010-11 World Junior Championships.
While a part of the Spitfires, Locke played in 38 career games while recording 19 goals and 14 assists for 33 points.
“It was a fun year, I mean, it was my first year in the OHL, so, there were a lot of big life changes. Living with billets for the first time, being away from home and trying to finish high school at the same time was pretty extensive,” Locke said about his Windsor experience.
Following his short stint with Windsor, Locke played in 27 games for the Barrie Colts, before joining Canada’s U18 team.
While a part of the Canada U18 team, Locke played in seven career games while recording two goals and one assist for three points.
“It’s an honor to put on the Maple Leaf. We fell a bit short of our goals over in Germany, but playing alongside guys like Mark Scheifele and Ryan Murphy, was something I’ll never forget,” Locke said about getting the chance to represent his country.
Following his Team Canada stint, Locke returned to Barrie in the 2011-12 season and played in 21 games for the Colts, before being traded over to the Saginaw Spirit, which he would spend the next three years on.
While a part of the Spirit, Locke played in 168 career games while recording 89 goals and 106 assists for 195 points.
“Saginaw was great. It was one of the only OHL clubs that I really found my rhythm and had a decent amount of time there. It was also the first time I lived with another guy on the team as well, Jake Patterson, so, that’s created a life long friendship there,” Locke said.
Following his time with Saginaw, Locke joined the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men men’s hockey team over in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. While at StFX, Locke was taking a bachelor’s degree in Human Kinetics.
While a part of the X-Men, Locke played in 94 career games while recording 42 goals and 54 assists for 96 points.
“It was a great university. There are so many great things to say and memories that I have, I mean, the traditions they have there with grad weekend and just how well known the hockey program is, and it was crazy to go in and really take school on full time while also playing hockey,” Locke said.
Following his first season with the X-Men, Locke was named to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) First All-Star team, awarded the CIS Most Valuable Player trophy, and named to the CIS All-Canadian First Team.
“It was a good season. I was pretty effective up front which is probably what those awards were based off of. But I couldn’t have done that without the coaching staff, and my teammates, and line-mates specifically,” Locke said about earning the awards.
“We ended up winning the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) playoffs that year and fell one game short in the National final, so I think those awards speak volume about the team we had there,” Locke said.
The following year, Locke was awarded the CIS Outstanding Student Athlete award and was named to the CIS Second All-Star Team.
“I think I took a little bit more involvement in the community that year. We ran a lot of minor hockey association stuff, we had other programs asking us if we would come out to events, so it was right there for the taking and I kind of jumped on some opportunities, helping out with a lot of different programs,” Locke reminisced about the awards.
“Its really great work, especially in that small community it means a ton to them. When you look up in the crowd and they’re watching the games, so it was great to give back,” Locke said.
Following three seasons at StFX, Locke applied to the University of Ottawa, where he is currently a med student while also the captain of the Gee-Gees.
So far, as part of the Gee-Gees, Locke has played in 38 career games while recording 11 goals and 33 assists for 44 points.
“It was one of the schools I applied for, for medicine, and the only one that accepted me. I had had conversations with Gee-Gees head coach Patrick Grandmaitre before and knew that if I was going to get in, I was going to come and play for the team,” Locke said about his decision to come to Ottawa.
“And I was excited about that, with it being a young team I thought I’d come and bring a different aspect to the team,” Locke added.
Following the end of this season, Locke will be ineligible to compete in USports. Over his time with the Gee-Gees, Locke has had many memorable moments, one of which is just last year when his team eliminated the Carleton University Ravens to move into the second round of the OUA playoffs.
“I’d say last year. Winning that first round series against Carleton. I was hurt but I was still trying to be a presence for the guys and in a leadership role and seeing them come through, especially after we’d had numerous tough games against Carleton, to beat them in the playoffs was a huge step forward for the program,” Locke said.
As Locke gets set to head into his third year of med school next year, he will be spending more required time in Ottawa hospitals as well as rural hospitals, in which he will learn first hand from doctors and residents, get quizzed on what to do and what not to do, and eventually start seeing patients on his own.
In regards to the future, Locke hopes to continue to be involved in the sport that he loves, but he is also excited to take his medical future to the next step.
“I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen from surgery so far, whether it be general, orthopaedic, or urology, so, those are kind of the areas I’m streaming for right now. And then at the same time, I can see myself doing family, or sports medicine or something like that,” Locke said about his interest in the fields.
“So, I think I’ll figure all that out next year, just with getting to try them all out consistently and see what I really love. I’ve enjoyed medicine so far, so to have a job that I love is going to be great,” Locke said.