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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Freshman Icecat in unfamiliar territory

    UA freshman Alex Dunning skates around Tucson Convention Center before a 3-2 loss to Colorado on Saturday. Dunning scored a goal in each of the Icecats first three games, but has played sparingly since.
    UA freshman Alex Dunning skates around Tucson Convention Center before a 3-2 loss to Colorado on Saturday. Dunning scored a goal in each of the Icecats’ first three games, but has played sparingly since.

    When Arizona club hockey forward Alex Dunning began his career as an Icecat on Oct. 10, he picked up right where he left off in high school. The freshman scored a goal in each of the team’s three games in the American Collegiate Hockey Association Showcase Tournament.

    No stranger to athletic success, Dunning was a four-time state champion in high school. He won three state championships at Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper, Utah, in hockey and cross country. In his senior year, he transferred to Brophy High School in Phoenix, where he was a part of a state championship lacrosse team.

    Growing up, Dunning’s family sport was football. His father, Joel Dunning, played football at Oregon and his cousin, Dustin Dunning, was a standout tight end at Vanderbilt and played alongside current Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, and was second team all-Southeastern-Conference member in 2005.

    “”We tried to talk him into playing football because there are many scholarships for it,”” Joel Dunning said. “”The kid just loves to play hockey.””

    Being from a family in which performing well in athletics is an ordinary thing, so the freshman was not surprised at his hot start to his Arizona playing career. What he didn’t know, however, was that after the opening weekend, his playing time would dwindle.

    After receiving a penalty in a game against Delaware – the third game of the season – in a crucial point in the game, Dunning’s ice time has been limited and he hasn’t scored any goals since the team’s opening weekend.

    “”Being a freshman athlete in college at one time, I told him as a freshman, ‘You have to prove yourself,'”” Joel Dunning said. “”He gets frustrated at times, but he knows as a freshman he has to pay his dues.””

    Though Alex Dunning has seen his minutes lessen as the season has progressed, he is viewed as one of the Icecats’ players of the future.

    “”I think he’s pressing and trying to do too much, but I think as he finds his niche he will get better,”” said head coach Leo Golembiewski. “”I certainly think he has the potential to have a bright future.””

    While Alex Dunning is one of the young players who is considered to have an impact on the team’s future, it has been difficult for the freshman to watch from the bench after playing big roles on his triple A teams in high school.

    In fact, when he was 17 he received an offer to play with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League – a league in which some of the players go on to Division I hockey schools or get drafted to the NHL.

    “”He wanted to do it but being a principal in high school, I know education is going to be what changes his life – not hockey,”” Joel Dunning said.

    As the season progresses, Alex Dunning said he hopes to find the same success he had in the first three games, and with team struggling with a 2-7 record, he may get that opportunity.

    “”I’m just going to make the best of the time that I do get,”” Alex Dunning said.

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