Aaron Marcel (He/Him): Principal Founder, President
Growing up in the South Shore of Massachusetts, Aaron started playing hockey at 5 years old. If he was not jumping from rink to rink in attempt to juggle 2 or 3 teams at once, he was shooting pucks in his back yard or playing street hockey with his neighborhood friends. Aaron’s love for hockey developed quickly, as it manifested lifelong relationships, instilled core values, and propelled him towards academic and personal success.
As Aaron transitioned from competitive, organized hockey to post-college men’s league, he reflected on his 20+ year hockey career, highlighting the fact that he never had a single player of color on any of his teams. Aaron’s experience regarding the lack of diversity in hockey is what inspired him to establish Hockey Haven, a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on eliminating the racial and financial barriers that preclude underserved populations from playing hockey.
Hockey Haven immediately gained traction, earning a partnership with The New York Rangers, as well as support from national leaders in the movement to diversify hockey such as the Black Girl Hockey Club, Ice Hockey in Harlem, and Tucker Road Ducks. Aaron believes Hockey Haven will become an integral part of New Haven youth sports and will push the sport of hockey towards a more inclusive culture.
Outside of Hockey Haven, Aaron is a second-year medical student at The Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. He is pursuing a career in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, a field in which he can bridge his passion for medicine and athletics.
John “Jake” Baekey (He/Him): Co-Founder, VP/Treasurer
Jake Baekey is one of four co-founders of Hockey Haven and now serves as the Vice President and Treasurer of the organization. Outside of his role in Hockey Haven, Jake is a second-year medical student at Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University who is interested in pursuing a career as a neurologist. Jake earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Hockey has always been an integral part of Jake’s life. He learned to skate shortly after learning to walk, was playing in a league by age five, and still plays today. Many of Jake’s formative experiences took place in hockey rinks, and he credits the sport with making him the person he is today. “It is through hockey that I learned the importance of commitment, dedication, and hard work. Hockey is a uniquely challenging sport, and it is through these challenges that it builds strength of mind and instills values that will benefit players in all aspects of their lives.”
Jake’s passion for Hockey Haven stems from his strong belief that these opportunities should be available to all children, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, and he hopes to help diversify the landscape of the sport that has done so much for him. As an on-ice coach, Jake hopes to instill these same values in players and watch them grow into the best versions of themselves, while also building a community that will provide them with support for years to come.
Courtney Morgan (He/Him): Director of Player Development
Hockey has always had a significant impact on Courtney’s life, which has led to his role as Director of Player Development for Hockey Haven. Courtney is currently a Medical Assistant at Jennifer W. Pennoyer M.D. Dermatology office where he started after completing a Pre-Medical and Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Program at the University of Connecticut. He is also applying to Medical Schools, where he aspires to pursue a career in Orthopedic Sports Medicine. Courtney earned a B.A. in Biology from Connecticut College in 2020.
At this point, hockey is part of Courtney’s identity because it has led him to where he is today and taught him essential life lessons since the age of 4. Hockey wasn’t always the easiest adjustment for Courtney as he found himself struggling to relate to the other kids.
“I grew up playing the sport of hockey as the only minority on my teams with no one that could come close to relating to my personal battles. The hardships I went through didn’t discourage me, it motivated me to share my experiences with kids so that they can learn from what I went through and feel like they have support along the way.”
Aside from Hockey Haven, Courtney is a member of the Jamaican Men’s National Lacrosse team. Giving back to kids in Jamaica and his local community via Hockey Haven is something that he is passionate about and will continue to do so that they can also have the same opportunities he had growing up playing the sport that he loves.
Zachariah “Zak” Foster (He/Him): Co-Founder, Director of Analytics and Communication
In addition to his role as Director of Analytics and Communications, Zak is a second-year medical student at the Frank H. Netter MD School of medicine at Quinnipiac University who hopes to pursue a career in Neurology within the Veterans Health Administration system. Zak earned a B.A. in Neuroscience & Behavior, Biology, and Informatics and Modeling in Integrative Genomic Sciences from Wesleyan University (CT) in 2019.
Unlike some of his co-founders, Zak has not played organized ice hockey; however, athletics were a prominent component of his upbringing, as he continued to play baseball, basketball, football, and lacrosse during his high school years. He would go on to play cornerback for the Wesleyan Cardinals. Zak notes that his experience within the world of sports has “instilled and tested values of grit, teamwork, and perseverance”, which guides his professional endeavors.
Outside of Hockey Haven, Zak remains active and continues his research through the Boston-based VA Biorepository Brain Bank. He also loves trying local restaurants and is a loyal Baltimore Ravens fan who is still getting over their recent collapse to the Miami Dolphins.
Zak strongly believes that sports created opportunities for him that otherwise would have seemed unattainable. He cannot wait to see Hockey Haven athletes come on the ice and the opportunities that may come to be!
Colin Uyeki (He/Him): Co-Founder, Director of Grant Writing and Resource Development
In addition to his role as Director of Grant Writing and Resource Development, Colin is a second-year medical student at the Frank H. Netter MD School of medicine at Quinnipiac University who hopes to pursue a career as an orthopaedic surgery and lifestyle medicine. Colin earned a B.A. in Neuroscience & Behavior from Wesleyan University.
While he never played competitive hockey, Colin grew up in a neighborhood of hockey players and was around the game throughout his childhood. Colin played soccer, lacrosse, and basketball for ten years before deciding to pursue lacrosse full-time. Team sports played an instrumental role in Colin’s development, and he credits much of his success academically and professionally to lessons he learned from teammates and coaches on the field. “For me, learning to embrace failure as an opportunity to grow rather than a bad outcome to avoid was monumental. Hockey instills so many of the same lessons I learned in the sports I played growing up.”
Outside of Hockey Haven, Colin still plays lacrosse as a member of the Scottish National Team and is involved in student groups on campus in the medical school. He is an avid fan of the movies, and his favorite is by far Remember the Titans!
Colin is thrilled to be able to increase accessibility to team sports in his community and provide young athletes with an opportunity to get involved in hockey!