When one thinks of hockey, most wouldn’t expect to see the starting goaltender as the team captain; a role not many goalies have had the opportunity to take on. However, for 3rd year veteran goaltender and recently named captain Dan Dekoning, he recognizes a goalie can bring certain attributes to the captain role which he will be using to support his teammates this season.
Besides his leadership, Dekoning who is from Listowel, ON, has brought plenty of experience with him to Briercrest and continues to be a driving force for the team. Last season Dekoning was named to the ACAC Academic All-Conference team and finished the season as the top saves leader with 985 and an average save percentage of 0.903 in 27 games.
Like many young Canadian players, Dekoning’s passion for the sport grew on his backyard rink and from there became more competitive when he began playing AAA hockey. After leaving high school hockey to compete at a higher level, he played for his local Jr. B team, the Listowel Cyclones at age 15. From there, Dekoning went on to play in the Ontario Hockey League for the Owen Sound Attacks which is where he first heard about Briercrest from alum Eric Valentine who ran the chapel program for the team. Although Dekoning admits he “didn’t think much about it at the time,” his trainer helped him to get in contact with head coach Jamie Ramer.
While hockey has encompassed the majority of his life, Dekoning acknowledges that it is not everything. He saw coming to Briercrest as an opportunity to gain a Christian education and also a place where he could grow his faith and relationship with God. As he explains, “I wanted to go to school and get a business degree. I also wanted to continue playing hockey and the biggest point was, Jr. hockey wasn’t the greatest place for my faith and this was an opportunity to play with brothers in Christ… it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
During his time at Briercrest, Dekoning credits the school and team for reminding him that there is more to life than just hockey. Between team prayers before practice, sharing testimonies on road trips and shared meals with opposing teams, as Dekoning put it, “it just shows that there is more to life than just playing hockey, there is a bigger goal and that is ultimately God’s goal.”
As for his aspirations after college, Dekoning says “being here has helped me to realize it is ok to walk away from hockey afterwards because it is not just about hockey.” However, if an chance to play professionally came along, Dekoning admits it would be difficult to pass up. He is currently finishing his BA in Business Administration and has been thinking about following in his dad’s foot-steps and becoming a police officer in Ontario.