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"The Goal Was to See Where Hockey Could Take Me in Life"

By Dan Pollard, 01/22/19, 3:15PM EST


Playing the ultimate team sport and loving the game

Photo Credit: Picture Day Photography

Many teams are heading towards the finish line of the regular season and it's an exciting time of year with everyone looking to finish strong. Think about what your most memorable moments are from playing hockey as a kid and how it developed your love of the game.

Dave Poulin is a man who’s done it all in hockey and his resume backs it up. Even though he didn’t start playing organizaed hockey until he was nine, Poulin still climbed up the ranks as a player, coach and general manager because of what he credits as simply loving the game.

He first hit the ice as a figure skater in Timmins and played multiple sports growing up. It wasn’t until his family moved to Toronto that he first joined a hockey team. Poulin credits his figure skating as giving him the ability to skate backwards when other players his age couldn’t.

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“The goal was to play a game that I loved in hockey and see where it took me in life. Once I established I was going to the University of Notre Dame it was just to continue playing there,” said Poulin. “I played with players at Notre Dame that had been drafted to NHL, it seemed like out of the corner of their eye they were looking there rather than enjoying what we had while we were playing at Notre Dame. I just played, I kept going.”

That’s the one lesson he tells kids today – to keep going in whatever you do. There are too many variables in hockey and in life that make sticking to a plan that much harder.

Now in a hockey analyst role at TSN in both television and radio, one of Poulin’s favourite things to do is to track what route a player took to make it to the pros. Every country has different development paths which creates unique stories across the league.

Before going off to college, which he stresses was to get a good education along with playing hockey, Poulin stayed at home with his friends to play Midget house league. While his size was often used as a strike against him, he stood at 5’11” and 190 lbs., those days are clearly in the past. Two of the best players on the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning are Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson, both of whom are undersized and went undrafted.

It didn’t matter to Poulin the level of hockey he played or what he played it, just as long as he got to lace up his skates and play what he calls the ultimate team sport.

“Play every game and love every game that you play.”

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Dan Pollard is the host of Breakaway, The Minor Hockey Podcast. His passion for hockey led him to volunteer as a coach and administrator while his professional career has allowed him to cover the game at various levels with CBC, Sportsnet, the NHL Network and TSN. You can currently hear Dan every morning on 105.5 Hits FM in Uxbridge.

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