BHS senior takes his hockey career to a new level
Senior Dylan Demers plays for a Tier III Hockey League and plans to leave a legacy of work ethic and commitment on the future of BHS.
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It’s 7 a.m. on a Monday morning, and senior Dylan Demers wakes up, gets dressed, and goes right to the the Biddeford Ice Arena for morning practice.
For Demers, every day starts with hockey, and he doesn’t just play for fun–for him, it’s a scholarship opportunity for college, a passion, and an outlet. He recently snagged a spot on a Tier III hockey team that travels the nation playing the sport on a highly competitive level.
“I’m currently playing in the North American Tier III Hockey League,” said Dylan. “I’m in the developmental league. Eventually, I’ll get moved up to Tier II, and hopefully I’ll stay there.”
Demers said the league has three Tiers. Tier II allows players to play for free and get a lot of college exposure, and then the United States Hockey League (USHL) essentially guarantees players to play in Division 1 or in the NHL. For now, Demers will continue to commit himself to becoming the best he can be.
“I practice Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and then I come to school and I’m dead,” Dylan said. “I practice on my own, I work out three times a week, and I do cardio every day.”
The commitment and worth ethic it takes for Demers to keep up with his busy schedule drains him to say the least, but he’s stuck with the sport so long partly because it’s all he’s ever known.
“I’ve been skating since I was two, so it’s always been a big part of my life,” said Dylan. “My grandfather [got me into hockey], and he played hockey at the University of New Hampshire.”
For Demers, the game puts him in a motivated state because he’s always striving to better himself.
Extremely thankful for his dad’s support, Demers said his dad puts a lot of time and money towards his hockey career.
“[My dad will do] anything to get me into college for free,” said Dylan. “He just does what he can for me.”
Next summer, Demers will attend UMass Amherst’s Prospect Camp, where two teams of twenty guys go head-to-head, and the university evaluates each player and makes them an offer.
“I’m on UMass Amherst’s list, and they invited me to Prospect Camp,” said Dylan. “It’s five-thousand dollars [to attend the Prospect Camp], but it’s the best opportunity I’ve gotten so far, so I have to take it.”
Demers’ father, Ray Demers, supports him wholeheartedly through this commitment and will do anything he can for his son’s success. He comes to every one of his games, and Demers appreciates his father’s support more than he can say.
“I handle the commitment easily,” said his dad. “I’ll do whatever it takes to get Dylan to the highest level possible.”
Although Demers is thankful for all the opportunities he’s been given, he can’t play for Biddeford’s varsity hockey team during his senior year due to his contract.
“[Playing for BHS] would violate my contract because you can’t play anywhere else for another team,” said Dylan. “[I wish I could play because I’m] missing my last year to win a championship for my teammates and city.”
Despite this drawback, Demers made another family with his new teammates, and refers to the team as a “brotherhood.”
“We have three Russians,” said Dylan. “We had a kid from Finland, Nebraska, Oregon, and Texas. There are six guys who I’m really close with. We’re kind of like brothers.”
Demers plays as a defenseman for the team, and loves the position he plays for many reasons.
“I like the physicality of it,” said Dylan. “I always like going in the corners and hitting or checking them.”
As far as pre-game rituals go, Demers has several of them and follows them religiously.
“I always have to run around the parking lot before a game,” said Dylan. “Then, when I’m getting dressed, it has to go left [then] right on everything I’m wearing. I’m superstitious, so if I don’t do it, I feel like I’ll have a bad game.”
Demers’ mindset during his games is narrow and focused.
“My mindset is to play the best game I can, do what I can to help the team win, and get the ‘W’,” said Dylan. “I want to look as good as possible because you never know who’s watching.”
Although Demers wants to go to college eventually, he wants to stay in the Juniors League for a few more years.
“I’m not planning on going to college until I’m twenty-one,” said Dylan. “I want to age out in Juniors, so that way I have as many offers from colleges as possible.”
Demers’ coach Jack Lowry believes he has a chance to achieve whatever he hopes to because of his commitment on and off the ice.
“Dylan is a puck possession defenseman who plays with a very high hockey IQ,” said Lowry. “He has a very fast and physical game but plays with finesse when needed. He has a powerful shot and also has great stick handling skills. He has great vision and his head up using the whole sheet of ice to his advantage.”
Demers’ father is mostly proud of his son for sticking with hockey despite the challenges he’s faced.
“I’m proud of Dylan because of the adversity he’s gone through and how well he handles it,” said his dad. “He does whatever he can to be the best player he can be.”