Photo: Rena Laverty/ Team USA NTDP
By JACK LeGWIN
Most hockey obsessed youth play the sport every waking moment, year in and year out in their effort to make it to the pros. Dylan Peterson is taking a slightly different path.
Born in California, Peterson moved to Chestermere, Alberta when he was young. There he began to play hockey and later moved to Colorado where he played with the Colorado Thunderbirds from 2012-2014. There’s a bit more to his story however.
“My dad has moved around a lot, he’s a civil engineer,” Peterson said. “He’s been all over the world. We lived in Taiwan when I was younger for two years. It was pretty cool actually. I picked up the language (Mandarin) fairly quickly, my mom said. When I was about four or five, she’d bring me to the local markets and use me to talk to the workers. I felt like I fit in pretty well there, so that was cool.”
Peterson’s travels and hard work has brought him now to Plymouth, where he finds himself on the top line of the Team USA NTDP program U-17 team.
“It’s something you can’t really put into words,” Peterson said. “Pulling that jersey over my gear and understanding that I’m going to go out onto the ice and I’m going to represent my team, family and the country. It’s something that is hard to put into words really.”
When asked to describe his experience with his teammates, Peterson expressed a sense of relief and joy to both get the season started and to play with his teammates.
“It’s been incredible so far,” Peterson said. “I was fortunate enough to move in with a teammate of mine that I previously knew and had played with, it’s actually been pretty easy moving up here, getting to know all the staff at the rink and the coaches, they make you feel really welcome so it’s been going great so far.”
When asked what the hardest part of the transition was off the ice, Peterson thought for a second, and answered.
“School probably. I went to a small all-boys boarding school, so coming to Plymouth where there’s like 6,000 kids is an adjustment for me. Learning how to fend on my own a bit is something that my parents have encouraged. Not seeing them a lot is tough, but it’s something I can get used to. There’s a new curriculum too, but hockey wise and living wise, I’m doing pretty well.”
Having some of the players around who made the transition last year to Team USA hockey has helped Peterson to find his footing quickly in Plymouth.
“They’re a great group of guys,” Peterson said. “I’ve spoken to Alex Turcotte, (Trevor) Zegras, (Jack) Hughes. They’ve given me tips on when to get to school and traffic and stuff. Little things that make a huge difference. They definitely give me their full support which is pretty great.”
Projected to be a top pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, Peterson, who’s currently committed to Boston University, says that while it’s nice to be in the conversation to be a high draft pick, it’s the furthest thing from his mind.
“I don’t focus on it much,” Peterson said. “I’ve seen and heard things, but it’s not my concern at all. It’s good to be in the talk. It’s still two years off, and so much can change. There are so many good players out there that people haven’t seen yet. It’s good to be in the conversation, but it’s not something I’m too worried about right now.”
The journey has just started for Peterson and he’s has no intention of slowing down any time soon.
“I’ve dedicated my life so far to this game, and I’m going to dedicate the rest of my life to this game.”
Peterson currently has five points (3G-2A) in his first ten games for Team USA U-17 program.