An eight-year-old Toronto-area hockey goalie whose hip-hop moves on the ice have made him an online sensation is relishing the prospect of being called up to the big leagues — for a dance-off.
Noah Young, who plays on a Brampton novice rep team, has been pumping up the crowd with spontaneous on-ice dancing for years, his mother said Wednesday, but it was only once his performance was captured on video and posted online this weekend that he drew international attention.
The short dance routine, set to the song "Juju On That Beat" by Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall, has been viewed more than three million times on Facebook and even caught the eye of two professional players, the New Jersey Devils‘ Adam Henrique, who’s from Brantford, Ont., and Keith Kincaid.
When asked by Henrique on Twitter whether he could rival Noah’s skills, Kincaid, the team’s goalie, jokingly replied Tuesday evening with a challenge: "I could give him a run for his money. Only one way to settle this.. dance off."
Noah’s mother, Paige Rowswell, said her son would be ecstatic to test his moves against a pro.
"He would lose it. I think he’d be crazy," she said with a laugh.
The young goalie’s overnight fame has also attracted attention from the local professional minor hockey team, the Brampton Beast, and nearby junior and major junior teams, Rowswell said, adding Noah will be collaborating with them in the near future.
The sudden spotlight has come as a shock to his family and friends, for whom Noah’s dancing is simply par for the course, she said. But Noah himself is unfazed, his mother said.
Though he’s joked about becoming a celebrity, the hype hasn’t gone to his head, she said. And he certainly isn’t living a star lifestyle, she added.
"He just thought he could maybe stay up past bedtime and have a chocolate bar late and I was like, ‘No, sorry, you can’t,"’ she said.
Hockey and dancing have always been his twin passions, she said, recalling how her son would "walk around with a goalie stick" at 10 months.
He started playing with his current team three years ago and took up hip-hop dancing lessons last year, combining both talents on the ice.
The dance that spurred his notoriety took place Saturday, during the team’s last playoff game, Rowswell said. But Noah will be back on the ice soon for spring league hockey and will also soon start inline hockey, though it’s harder to dance on inline skates, she said.
Though he plans to keep playing, Noah doesn’t necessarily have his heart set on joining the pro ranks, she said. "You hear kids talking about the NHL but he talks more about playing hockey in university when he’s older," she said.
He also doesn’t plan on giving up his trademark moves, she said. "He’ll keep dancing, that’s what he says: ‘I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing."’