Hunter Dunn, Hopedale HockeyMar 02, 2021 01:39PM ● By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Playing for the Hopedale hockey team, Hunter Dunn began his freshman campaign as a swing player bouncing between the junior varsity and varsity squads.
The then-freshman began the season on the fourth line, but by the end of the year he was seeing ice time with the top line. Now in his senior season with the Blue Raiders the Hopedale center considers himself a two-way player.
“He’s one of those players that gets very little attention, but he’s a heck of a hockey player,” Head Coach Mike MacQuarrie said. “I first meet him when I was coaching the JV team and I could tell right away that he had the skills along with a good hockey IQ. In fact, he had his hand in all of our points during the playoffs that year.”
The now-senior center knew that hockey was for him his very first game on the ice.
“My very first game playing hockey I scored a hat trick, and it was awesome. I was thinking to myself that it can’t be this easy especially since I couldn’t skate, but I managed to put three pucks in the net,” Dunn said. “While I have been able to continue to score, I really pride myself in being a two-way player that doesn’t allow goals to be scored upon us when I’m on the ice.”
Although goal scoring seemed to come easy to the youngster, he said he was always a bundle of nerves heading to the rink in the early morning hours. However, once he threw up, he was fine and ready to go. During the early part of his hockey career while playing for the Worcester Junior Sharks he found his first organized game with them as another interesting story. With all the kids taking turns at positions, he happened to draw the goalie card and luckily for the Blue Raiders he allowed 10 goals in that game and knew that this was not the position for him.
Following his goalie debut with the Junior Sharks, he played forward until moving to the Minuteman Flames, a squirt majors’ team, where he played on the blue line. Then right before high school he found himself playing for the South Shore Kings
During his freshman year Dunn managed to score 12 goals and added 27 assists and was named to the All-Star team as his team advanced into the tournament. His sophomore season saw his numbers dip a bit as he scored 15 goals and assisted on 18 other goals before he took his game to the next level last season as a junior where he notched 51 points (18 goals and 33 assists).
“Last year he was not only our best player, but he led the Central Mass in assists and scoring for most of the year,” the Hopedale Coach said. “I like to put him up against the opposition’s best player and he’s fully on board with accepting that responsibility. He’s a shut down player while still scoring points.”
In the early stages of this season, Dunn has already put the puck in the net 10 times while adding 20 assists far out performing his Coaches goal of three points per game. He has also not been on the ice when the opposition has scored.
“When Coach told me that he wanted me to account for 3 points per game I said that’s it?” Dunn said. “I knew that I had to go out and score more than he wanted me to so I could tell him he underestimated my ability.”
Coming into this COVID-19 season, Dunn knew that Hopedale would eventually take the ice to play hockey, but he was rather disappointed not being able to have a shot of advancing into the state tournament.
“Playing a shortened season with no tournament will not change how I play the game, but I believe that this team had a real shot of making a run at the State Championship,” the senior said. “I am hoping that I can help my linemate, sophomore Brady Butler, get his 100th point this year while keeping my streak of not being scored on while on the ice going.”
When high school concludes Dunn is hoping that he can continue playing hockey in some capacity.
“He has the ability to play hockey on the collegiate level. He has been a quiet leader who leads by example but can be vocal when he needs to be.” MacQuarrie said. “He has been in contact with some coaches and we just need to figure out his path to get there with his skill set.”