Leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York, on June 24th and 25th, WHL.ca will highlight WHL players looking to hear their names called on draft day. The seventh featured WHL player is Kelowna Rockets’ forward Dillon Dube.
Dillon Dube – Kelowna Rockets
Hometown: Cochrane, AB
D.O.B: July 20th, 1998
Wt: 180 lbs
NHL C.S.S. Final Ranking: 41st amongst North American skaters
Dube recently completed his second season in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets. The native of Cochrane, AB recorded 66 points (26g-40a) while playing in 65 games this season.
“Well, he’s a great skater and a great puck handler,” said Kelowna Rockets General Manager Bruce Hamilton when evaluating Dube’s strengths and weaknesses on the ice. “He certainly has some areas he needs to improve on like all young guys do by making sure he has his emotions under check. We’d like to see him shoot more as he has the ability to beat people. I think he has great attributes as well with being a great skater and he has excellent hands.”
Hamilton added that NHL scouts see many positive aspects to his game and his unique skill set can ensure success at the next level.
“Speed is certainly the big part of it. He’s not a big guy but he’s fast and elusive. Being in a position where he is, when he gets his game put together, he’s going to be a really good player. The most important thing for any of these young guys is consistency.”
Selected by the Rockets 21st overall in the first round of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Dube earned a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament and also earned a roster spot with Team Cherry at the 2016 CHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver.
Q & A with Dillon Dube
You won a gold medal with Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in August. How did that experience help you heading into the 2015-16 WHL season?
It gave me a lot of confidence, being selected and referred to as one of the top Western Hockey League Players to play for Canada. I think the Western guys are really impressive so to be a part of the team, having my friends there, it was a special feeling to represent Canada I hope I get to represent my country sometime again.
Being ranked amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, what do you do to stay focused on the task at hand?
I’ve had a long season so right now I feel I don’t have to worry about it that much. If my team has success, I feel that’ll help me in the draft and the scouts will look towards that.
Who was your favourite NHL team growing up?
I was a big fan of the Colorado Avalanche. I really like Joe Sakic. He was a big player that I looked up too and I even own a couple of his jerseys.
Which current NHL player do you feel you have a similar skill set and are trying to emulate?
It’s tough to compare myself to Joe Sakic as he’ll go down as one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Right now, I look more to modern day and I feel Max Domi is a player that I’m trying to emulate. He’s a skilled little guy that broke out into the NHL and has done so well. To see him do so well and go so high in the draft, I try to model my game after him.
Who was your favourite WHL team growing up?
Yeah I did. I was a big fan of the Kootenay ICE growing up. Nigel Dawes is a player I really liked to watch and the ICE were my idle team.
What is your favourite moment in your hockey career up to this point?
It actually happened last year. Winning the WHL Championship was pretty special! I couldn’t really ask for anything more. Playing with guys like Leon Draisaitl, Madison Bowey and Josh Morrissey was unbelievable and it was a huge stepping stone for me to learn how to win. I hope we can do it more.
How have you adapted to playing in the WHL?
Yeah, it’s really fast now. All the older guys talk about how there were a lot of tough guys back in the day, but don’t get me wrong, we still had tough physical play last year. The smaller guys are starting to dominate.
What do you need to accomplish in order to have success at the next level?
I think consistency is huge for all young players. My game involves a lot of hard working and it can be tough to bring it every day but if I can get consistency down pat, that’ll help me reach the next level.
What is your favourite activity or hobby away from hockey?
I love golfing. I’ve always loved golfing as it helps take your mind off things. I’m pretty lucky I’m in Kelowna because the weather provides a great golf season.