directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Great article on Ohio State hockey recruit Zac Dalpe

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Great article on Ohio State hockey recruit Zac Dalpe

Zac Dalpe, a 6'1" 175lb right wing from Paris Ontario, is projected to a be a first round pick come June 20th this year. In fact he may even go top 20. That would make him the highest recruited player for Ohio State hockey since Ryan Kesler went 23rd overall to Vancouver back in 2003.

It wasn't easy for Dalpe though and this the following article is just a fantastic read on just what this kid has done to get there:

Dalpe began his hockey career in Paris, a town a short drive from Brantford, the birthplace of Wayne Gretzky. He began playing as a child,

"Like any young kid, at the age of 3 or 4 did, playing Timbits hockey," he said.

Dalpe was a little different, however, because he realized very quickly hockey was not just a game, but would be a life-long commitment.

He even traveled to Brantford to play AAA hockey because the small town of Paris only offered travel hockey programs, not the more visible AAA-caliber teams the Canadian Hockey League teams scout so heavily.

"Once I decided I wanted to play seriously, I moved to Brantford and played with their AAA team, and played there up to Pee Wee," Dalpe said. "But after that year I moved back home. I just wasn't having fun there, and I came back with all my buddies to play travel hockey back in Paris. With that team we won a bunch of championships. We won All-Ontarios twice, in 2002-03 and '03-04, and then I went back to Brantford for my OHL draft year."

Dalpe didn't get drafted by an Ontario Hockey League team, based on what he believes was a concern about his size and his ability to handle the bigger players of the CHL.

"I was really small," he said "I was 5-foot-4 or 5-foot-5 and only110-115 pounds or so. I was very small - stupid small. I had a lot of skill but no size, and I think that was part of the reason I didn't get drafted. I was heartbroken at the time, but I had parents and coaches reminding me I just had to be patient and let the size catch up to me."

And that's just what he did.

Dalpe moved again, this time to Stratford, Ontario, in order to join its Junior B team and increase his level of competition.

From playing in a relatively protected game against players roughly his own age, he went to playing against 18, 19 and 20-year-olds, many of whom had been away from home and playing the junior game for years.

Once again, it turned out to be a wise decision on his part.

"After my draft year, I played Junior B for the Stratford Cullitons," said Dalpe. "They have a lot of hockey history, and I consider myself lucky to have gotten on with that team as a 15-year-old turning 16. The first year I only had, like, 10 points, but it was a great experience for me because I just wanted to get what the junior lifestyle was all about, what it was like moving away from home and everything else that comes along with it."

After his first year of junior hockey, he had a decision to make: Continue to skate in the Tier II junior leagues and hope for an OHL call-up, or possibly take a different path. It took another town, another team and another disappointment for Dalpe's road to become clear.

"The next year I had a chance to try out for Mississauga, the OHL team, and it didn't work out right then so I decided right then and there I was going to school and that was it," he said.

That snap decision has paid off. He stayed in Stratford and did enough to earn a scholarship to Ohio State University.

"I was only 5-10, 5-11 at that time and fairly skinny, and I think that OSU showed the most commitment to me," said Dalpe. "There were some schools that I talked to, but OSU came up and met my family, they got to know me as a person, and I respected the way they committed to me so I decided to commit to them."

Ohio State hockey and Head Coach John Markell could use a bit of a break on the recruiting trail and it seems they've finally got one here in Dalpe.

According to this article Dalpe is the highest recruited player in the CCHA this season which was 16th overall in Central Scouting. They also have another kid in Taylor Stefishen who has committed to OSU and is the 4th highest CCHA recruit and is 84th in Central Scouting.

Of course as the article mentions typically college recruits who get drafted in the first round don't stay the entire 4 years in college as their pro teams want to get them developed an in their lineups contributing as soon as they are ready.

It will be fun to follow Dalpe's progress though and it wouldn't it be cool if the Jackets drafted him? Regardless I'll be keeping a lookout for this kid come draft day to see where ends up and how high he does indeed end up going.

You can read more about him here.


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