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Above the Glass

From the Dub: The Son Also Rises

When Dominic Turgeon was signed by the Portland Winterhawks in early 2012, local fans' thoughts didn't automatically turn to the team's new recruit: everyone who's being honest automatically thought "I can't wait to meet his father." On the off-chance you don't know who I'm referring to, Dominic's father is five-time NHL All-Star Pierre Turgeon. Aside from being a dead ringer for his father, Dominic has carved his own path to the NHL. It didn't start out on a easy note and if the Winterhawks' performance this season is any indication, it's not going to end easily. But that's what makes his story worth telling. His father may be the name we all know, but if you've been following Dominic's junior career, you already know that he's made a name for himself. 

Do the math.  One of the most brilliant moves then Head Coach and GM Mike Johnston ever made was to put Dominic on a line with Alex Schoenborn and Keegan Iverson, and they soon became known as the "third line's a charm." Best known in their early days for their physical style of play and their ability to shut the opponent down, today they are better known for coming up a clutch at the exact right moment in a game.  That is, when Jamie Kompon has the good sense to put them on a line together where they belong, which is rare. But back to topic: On Saturday night, Dominic scored his 21st goal of the season, reaching a new career-high 44 points this season. Many of those goals and assists have either been highlight-reel caliber or they've been the game winner, or both. There are many reasons Dominic wears the C and the math is just one of them: 

He never gives up on a play. Or a game. Or his teammates. When he was a rookie, I asked Dominic about the most important thing his father taught him about making it to the NHL and staying there as a professional hockey player: "that you have to work hard...that's the most important thing." In the four seasons he's played for the Winterhawks, I've never seen Dominic take a shift off or give up just because things aren't going the team's way. In recent games, the Winterhawks have let the opponent score within the first one to two minutes of a game, they've gotten into frustration-related penalties shortly thereafter and have spent the majority of their third periods digging themselves out of the hole. In the best example of  Dominic's commitment to a game and his team, he scored both of the team's goals in a game against Spokane on December 18, including the game winner in overtime. But the Winterhawks can't live on their Captain alone. If they are to survive the stretch run and have any chance at making playoffs, it will take a team effort. That's where Dominic comes in handy: 

Share and share alike. One of the things Dominic told me about being succesful in the WHL is that "there's a lot of travel and long hours, so your team has to be like family and we have to love what we do." If I were a Winterhawk right now, I wouldn't be loving what I do: the team lost all three of their triple-header games last weekend and just when it looked like they were turning it around with two wins, they lost again last night to the Saskatoon Blades 3 -1. But that's where their Captain stands out. As I sat down to write this blog, I started thinking about what makes Dominic so special. The answer? He treats his team like family and that's something you can't measure on a scoresheet or put a price tag on. It's just hard-wired into him. Dominic's professionalism, maturity and ability to power through adversity are above and beyond that of his peers. It's immediately apparent when you interview him. Even at 16, it was clear his maturity was above and beyond the norm. That's not to say that his teammates aren't also mature and responsible young men, because they very much are. It's just that Dominic is all that, times two. 

Oh Captain, My Captain. When Dominic signed with the Winterhawks ten days before his 16th birthday, I'm sure he envisioned winning championships and maturing under the tutelage of Mike Johnston, just like any other players who signed with the team during their recent glory years. That's not exactly what he got.  On November 28, 2012, the WHL issued history-making sanctions against the team that included the suspension of Coach Johnston for the season, including playoffs. Rather than signaling the virtual end of their season, it was only the beginning. They would go on to register their best season in franchise history and make their first return to the Memorial Cup final in 15 years. Dominic was just one part of the roster that didn't just survive that season; they thrived. Which brings me to my point: want to know the thing that really stands out about Dominic above all things? The values his family instilled in him. I've met his family and even if I hadn't, I'd still think the same thing; because for the past four seasons, I've had the privilege of watching while Dominic's star has risen. As a signed player who will be in his overage season next year, this will very likely be his last season in Portland. I can't imagine that the Red Wings would send him back here, nor should they. It's time for him to fly. Get ready Detroit.  When it comes to Dominic Turgeon, I can assure you that the son also rises. 

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Comments

calquake's avatar

Thank you for your insight on a future Wing.  Keep up the good work.

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 01/17/16 at 11:39 PM ET

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com