by Lisa McRitchie on 08/16/11 at 03:30 PM ET
Dillon Simpson has been blessed to have had a father who has won so many awards, had so many accomplishments, and processes so much skill and talent. At the same time, this could be seen as a bit of a hindrance; much like one of Dillon’s best friends Keegan Lowe. If there is one thing about Dillon Simpson’s game or pursuit of hockey that may aid him in trying to find his own path it just might be the position he plays. While Craig Simpson was a left winger, his son Dillon has made his career at defense.
Dillon Simpson skates through centre ice at Rexall Place at the Team Canada development camp August 6th.
Dillon Simpson was drafted first in the fourth round or 92nd overall this summer. Either way Simpson Jr. felt the difference between 92nd and the 2nd overall position his father claimed in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. Besides their last name and dimples, there doesn’t seem to be very much in common with Craig and Dillon Simpson, on the surface at least. Once you have the opportunity to observe young Simpson play, you realize that both generations of Simpsons are quite talented hockey players. You know that Dillon Simpson would have to be to even be drafted into the NHL, but for many Oilers’ fans there is that concern about family pedigree perhaps standing for more than it should. Once you have the opportunity to speak with both Simpsons, you learn that they both hold a natural charisma and charm. Simpson Sr. claims that any charm must come from his mother while displaying his made for t.v. grin.
This summer, Dillon Simpson received an invitation to both the Edmonton Oilers’ and Team Canada’s World Junior team development camp. At the same time, Simpson is looking forward to his second year at the University of North Dakota.
At the Hockey Canada development camp on August 6th and between interviews with other media, I had a few minutes of one on one time with Simpson. Maybe more like two on one as I was working once again with my friend Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal’s Cult of Hockey. You can read Bruce’s interview here.
LM - So your father tells me that you are taking business at the University of North Dakota.
Dillon Simpson - Working on it, going into finance or entrepreneurship.
LM- Your father also tells me that you have a 4.0 GPA
Dillon Simpson - [laughs] First semester I did, second semester close but no…
LM - So perhaps this is a proud papa matter?
Dillon Simpson - [laughs] Ya, a little bit I think.
LM - What did you take away from the Oilers’ development camp?
Dillon Simpson - I learned a lot, a lot of instruction throughout the entire week. Got to meet the guys and got to know the new staff more. It was a great experience and I took a lot away from it.
LM- Any take aways for your future camps?
Dillon Simpson - We did a lot of self evaluation and development plans for each of us. So, I think I know what I need to do and to keep working on it.
LM- Will any of these take aways help you with your school training?
Dillon Simpson - Ya, school starts pretty soon here so I’ll be back down there but I want to keep working on my foot speed and agility.
Dillon Simpson is like many young Oilers prospects, if you catch them at odd times you can feel as though you are conducting an interview over twitter. Despite short responses there is still much that can be learned in a few minutes with each prospect. Simpson is quick to laugh, always smiling and if he is ever nervous, he never shows it. With such a high grade point average and a demanding team and class schedule, Simpson must have excellent organization skills, work ethic and a generous amount of intelligence.
Although not all draft picks pan out and have careers in the NHL, there will be several eyes watching Dillon Simpson through the rest of his NCAA hockey career with the UND Fighting Sioux. Whether young Simpson becomes a second generational NHL player is yet to be seen, but it would make for a better story if he does.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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