Hometown Hockey Dad
A fun-loving father on and off the ice, Altoona native Jesse Hays talks about being handy – and lending a hand to those in need.
Wife: Quinn. Kids: Carter (7), Jaleah (9), Kariana (13).
Pets: Leila (dog), Leo (cat).
East Side, Eau Claire
Born and raised in the Chippewa Valley, Jesse Hays enjoys watching his kids ride their bikes in the same “secret” hangouts he and his friends were privy to. Growing up in Altoona, Jesse and company rode their bikes everywhere – from Otter Creek to Big Falls – causing no trouble, of course. He graduated from Altoona High School in 2001. By 2004, he finished up a three-year stint as a supervisor for UPS, where he learned a lot personally and professionally. He is now a journeyman steamfitter, working as a foreman for Certified Inc. He transitioned from a “single dude into a family man,” when he met his fun and beautiful wife, Quinn, in 2006. In 2013, Jesse, Quinn, and their three kids bought a house on top of the hill near Putnam Park. When he isn’t working and being a dad, he is a coach for two local youth hockey teams. This year he helps coach the Mites, the team his son Carter plays for, alongside many other great coaches. He is also the assistant coach for his daughter Jaleah’s U10 girls’ team. During his stepdaughter Kariana’s U14 girls’ hockey games, he likes to relax in the stands. Although he finds himself looking up to people – mainly due to being vertically challenged – he believes that nobody should forget that someone is always looking up to them. As he put it, kids are curious little creatures who learn a lot from the words and actions of every adult.
We love the Chippewa Valley because it is home. We grew up here and know the landscape like the back of our hands. When you live in one area for this long, you grow to love it. However, I don’t think you need to spend a lot of time here to love this place. We also have a lot of family in the area. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles are just a phone call away if we need help with the kids.
I couldn’t live without my family. We have a lot of fun as a family, whether it’s making wisecracks at each other or chasing one another around the house. It’s usually only the kids chasing each other, but I’ll jump in the action once in a while or until Quinn yells at us to stop.
I make sure to never miss a phone call from Grandpa and Grandma Qualheim. They have had a positive influence on me my entire life. I learned how to be a better person just by watching how they carry themselves. I enjoy helping them out in any way I can. Fixing a leaky sink, snow removal, mowing lawn, or sweeping leaves off the roof is no problem for me. They do remain independent and try to get everything done themselves though!
My family has taught me patience. I learned to have patience with the kids at a very young age. I try to let the kids figure things out on their own, certainly with help along the way. It takes a lot of patience to watch your kids struggle with something before they persevere.
Our typical weekend is chaos in the wintertime because of hockey. You’ll find us at the hockey rink every weekend from November to March. Having three kids in hockey creates a crazy lifestyle in the winter. During the week, we are at the rink with the kids three or four nights. On the weekends, we will travel to Green Bay, Appleton, Superior, Hayward, Viroqua, etc., for tournaments. If we aren’t at a hockey rink, you might find us sitting by a warm fire in the comfort of our house. We also enjoy playing outside, building snow forts and snowmen, and having snowball fights.
My spouse would say my super power is being handy. She thinks that I can make or fix anything. Sometimes, this might hold true. However, if it comes down to baking a pie or knitting a blanket, I’ll leave that to her.
My kids will tell you that their dad spends a lot of time with them. Also, that I am kind, funny, loving, strict, and lenient all at the same time. I always try to be nice to my kids. There are times though when they just won’t listen and I might lose my cool … they generally don’t like when that happens.
If I could pass on one bit of advice it would be lend a hand to those in need. Whether it’s holding a door open for somebody or paying for an elderly person’s medication at the pharmacy whose debit card won’t work, it is worth it. You will feel like a much better person after helping someone.