G2 Ops Kids: Sage Esser

This summer we’ll be highlighting the children of current employees, and the impact these G2 Ops Kids are having on their communities.

Sage Esser was recently offered a contract to play “Junior A” hockey with the Hartford Wolfpack of the Eastern Hockey League. Hockey in the US is unique amongst sports in that athletes that want to play in the college ranks must play 1-3 years in Junior hockey prior to (hopefully) being offered slots on college hockey teams. Placement on Junior teams in leagues like the EHL is an extremely competitive process, with athletes from across the country competing for a few open spots each year.

At a young age, Sage decided he wanted to play hockey at the highest level his ability would allow and has worked steadily at it since the tender age of 5. He was certainly born into a “hockey” family, but his motivation was his own. It’s hard to get noticed as a hockey player in Maryland, but his focus and dedication have put his unlikely dream in reach.

Sage was recently named the MD state high school hockey player of the year (The Yvon Labre Award), but only partly based on his play – and that’s what we wish to highlight today. Over the past two years Sage served as Captain of his high school team. As such, he made it a point to mentor his teammates, many of which were new to the game. He was first to celebrate his teammates’ accomplishments with a hug and a pat on the helmet and an ear-to-ear grin. It seemed no one was happier for his teammates’ successes than Sage. He made sure to hand a coach the puck every time a teammate scored his first goal, knowing the importance of hockey traditions. Sage led the way in every drill in practice, and was usually the last to leave the ice after a game – retrieving sticks for his teammates and shaking hands with the referees.

On his club team this past year, Sage played for the Washington Little Capitals U18AAA National level team, where he was an Assistant Captain. He devoted approximately 50 hours a week to the team for on-ice practices, off-ice conditioning sessions and travel to and from games and practices. He has spent nearly every weekend on the road during the winter for the past 5 years, traveling across the country for games and showcases. It’s a brutal schedule, and every game meant competing against the best the hockey world had to offer.

Sage has not allowed the pursuit of his dream to be the only thing that defines him. He will graduate with a 3.75 GPA, is an AP Scholar, editor of the school newspaper, member of the school’s championship Academic Quiz Bowl team, and Captain of his school’s Varsity Baseball team, as well. The level of self-discipline required to continue to perform at such a high level on and off the ice is remarkable – but to do it humbly is the most noteworthy. He has put in hundreds of volunteer hours over his high school career as a docent for an underground railroad museum, on service trips to West Virginia and as “Ozzie” – the mascot for a local hockey club that makes hockey possible for special needs kids.

This past week Sage spent his free periods on two separate days shoveling and raking the baseball field so that it would be ready for his teammates (and opponents) despite a week of almost non-stop rain. He did this alone and without being asked, and had a fellow teacher not noticed him running to the field in between classes, he would not have gained attention for it.

In a few weeks Sage will graduate and continue pursuing his dream this fall. In a world where social media, entertainment and our very nation’s leaders relentlessly push self-centered and win at all costs messages into nearly every aspect of our daily lives – we wanted to take the chance to highlight a young man quietly pursing a dream, while selflessly and modestly making the world around him a better place as he goes.

Sage Esser is the son of Kevin Esser, Executive Vice President of G2 Ops, Inc.