Jason O’Brien is intense. In fact, Champlain Valley Union (CVU) head lacrosse coach Dave Trevithick calls out his defenseman for being an intense competitor. “What is great about Jay is that he is a quirky, fun kid before the whistle and then as soon as the whistle blows he becomes this intense competitor. For a coach that is a lot of fun to have on any team,” he commented.
Born on Feb. 9, 1994 O’Brien and his family lived briefly in Winooski before moving to Shelburne. His family includes mom and dad, Michele and Jamie, two younger sisters, Tess, a CVU sophomore, and Jackie an eighth grader at the Shelburne Community School, and a dog named Roxy after the popular song “Roxanne” by the Police.
Inspired by his friends and his dislike of baseball, O’Brien began playing lacrosse for the first time in the eighth grade. “I started lacrosse in a rec league in Shelburne,” he said. “I didn’t like baseball and most of friends were playing. So I decided to give it a try,” he recalled.
O’Brien, now a CVU senior and a three-year varsity lacrosse player, admits to a unique personal game day ritual. “I like to sleep. Before every game I take a power nap. After I wake up I have to drink a root beer,” he informed. “I think I started that pre-game ritual when I was in the sixth grade during hockey. It may be unusual but it works for me,” he added. And it obviously works for the team because they are 3-0 to start the season.
In addition to lacrosse, O’Brien has played three years of varsity ice hockey (his preferred sport). Why does hockey trump lacrosse? “It’s simple really. I enjoy hockey more because I like to skate. I just like the feeling of skating,” he said.
His preferred sport is also linked to his greatest achievement. “Last year’s state hockey championship was my proudest moment. I was confident that Robbie Dobrowski was going to do something special…and he did,” he mentioned. “I just had to hold up my end [goaltending] and we would have a chance,” he shared. After O’Brien made 29 saves and Dobrowski scored one to win the 2011 D-I state championship, opposing hockey coach Bill O’Neil of Essex had this to say about this goaltender’s stellar play. “We had great opportunities. But O’Brien stonewalled us. We had plenty of chances, 29-14 in shots. They made one count. We were hoping to stick one by O’Brien.”
Although he considered playing college hockey, O’Brien decided instead to go pre-med and will attend the University of Vermont in the fall. “I wanted to go somewhere I could ski,” he added. Based on his successful past it appears that O’Brien is well on his way to accomplishing his next goal.