By Jason Cruz
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. In this edition, we discuss the Kraken’s next opponent, a possible API starting football quarterback in the Big 10, and a top Yankee prospect.
Jason Robertson awaits Kraken
The Seattle Kraken’s first appearance in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs have been outstanding. With a Game 7 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, the Kraken advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals against the Dallas Stars and Jason Robertson.
Led by Robertson, the Stars advanced past the Minnesota Wild in the first round. Robertson had 5 assists and 2 goals against the Wild to advance, winning the series 4 games to 2.
Robertson is one of the best stories of the NHL regular season. Leading the league in goals for most of the season, Robertson ended the 2022-2023 season with 46 goals and 63 assists in 82 games for Dallas and finished 7th in overall goals. However, he surpassed the Dallas Stars’ franchise record for most points in a season with 109.
Robertson, whose mother is Filipino, was raised with his two brothers in Southern California. Robertson’s father was a hockey goalie in his youth and passed on the love of the game to his three sons. His mother would travel with the boys all over the country for youth hockey tournaments. The family eventually moved to Michigan so that Jason and his brothers could compete in more competitive hockey. When Jason was drafted by Dallas in the second-round of the 2017 NHL Draft, media in the Philippines picked up on his Filipino heritage and many immediately became a fan that never watched hockey. Prior to being drafted, Jason never really identified with his Filipino background, only as a kid from California. Jason’s mother, Mercedes, told the Texas Monthly, “Jason, for sure, says now how Asian kids approach him, saying that they started hockey because of watching him.”
Jason is the third Filipino American to make it to the NHL. In 2011-2012, Tim Stapleton played for the Winnipeg Jets. Jason’s brother, Nick, was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013-2014. Robertson is the third Filipino American to be drafted and play in the league.
Anthony Volpe gets the nod as starting shortstop for the Yankees
Top New York Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe made the team’s roster coming out of spring training this April and has shown that he can handle the spotlight. The 21-year-old shortstop had an outstanding spring training with the Yankees, which made it difficult to send him back to the minor leagues.
“My heart was beating pretty hard,” Volpe told ESPN after receiving the news from Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Volpe, a New York native, grew up rooting for the Yankees. Volpe was picked by the Yankees out of high school and was the 2019 New Jersey High School Player of the Year. He now takes over the position that was famously played by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
Volpe’s parents are both doctors. His mother is Filipino.
After getting used to the majors for the first couple of weeks, Volpe has settled in and is getting used to the game. He bats leadoff in the Yankees lineup and, as of this writing, had reached base multiple times in 8 of his last 12 games. Boone remarked to the New York Post that Volpe has “been terrific.”
Boone added, “He keeps hitting the ball hard, too…The at-bats, especially as we go through this stretch, have just been really consistent with him.”
Noah Kim projected QB starter for Michigan State
While it is rare that we discuss Big 10 football, this fall may see an Asian American quarterback starting for the Michigan State Spartans. Noah Kim is slated as the quarterback for the Spartans. Last year, Michigan State played the University of Washington in Seattle. This year, the Huskies travel to Lansing, Michigan to possibly face Kim at QB.
Kim is a junior from Chantilly, Virginia. He chose to play for the Spartans in 2020. Kim has been sitting behind last year’s starter Payton Thorne. But with Thorne announcing his transfer this spring, it makes Kim the first option. The 6-foot-2, 185 pound quarterback is athletic and can extend plays when everything breaks down.
Kim, whose father is Korean, could be a rarity in college football, an Asian American quarterback starting for a big-time college football team.
Jason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.