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Dinn looks to continue hockey career after Gonzaga

Farrell Dinn against St. Albans
By Malik Lansdown –

Senior Farrell Dinn fell in love with hockey watching his older brother play for Gonzaga in the early 2000s, and the game has been a huge part of his life ever since.

“Watching [my brother] win three championships with Gonzaga made it my dream to come here and win four championships, which I am close to doing,” Dinn said. “I would rollerblade around Fort Dupont during his games; I fell in love with the sport. Then, I picked up the actual skates and started playing real hockey as soon as I could.”

This year he’s done his best to make that dream a reality with a remarkable season thus far, with 44 points (25G-19A) in 22 games this season, and he has confidence in this year’s group to get the four-peat done.

“We faced some adversity with injuries and not having some of our key players in big games, but that’s where you find out what the team is really made of,” Dinn said. “Just like last year, we didn’t have the regular season performance that we hoped for, but with key players back, I have full confidence that the playoffs will be the same result as last year. Our strength is our depth, and younger players are finally finding their stride and stepping into roles we need them to play, which is what you hope for.

Dinn’s impact this season has been felt by the rest of the team, as well.

“He’s been our best offensive contributor the whole year,” said senior Captain Colin O’Leary. “He’s gonna play a key part in our playoff success.”

Farrell Dinn lines up with junior Ethan Baxley against St. John’s

After having been placed on the Varsity II team during his freshman year, Dinn quickly made his mark, being one of the key contributors in the Varsity II team’s run to their second-straight championship and winning MAPHL A division player of the year.

“When I did not make V1 as a freshman, I was hurt, but I was given an unique opportunity to play as the top man on the V2 team and learn what it means to be the person everyone relies on to get what needs to be done,” Dinn said.

While he feels his size had a factor in him not being selected for the Varsity I team, he also believes that in retrospect it was the best choice for his development.

“As a freshman, if I was on V1, I wouldn’t have gotten much time and not utilized as much as I should be, so playing V2 I was a blessing in disguise because I was able to get used to the size and speed high school hockey while also being able to dominate,” Dinn said.

It was clear after that after his first season that Dinn was more than ready to see full-time action with the top team, and it didn’t take long for him to get going. Dinn put up 16 points (10G-6A) in 21 games his sophomore year. Unfortunately, injuries sidelined him for the playoffs as Gonzaga went on to win back to back MAPHL titles, but the next year he showed his impact on the postseason, as well. After another great season with 26 points (16G-10A) in 20 games, he scored a hat trick in the championship game to help the team win its third straight title.

“I think between his freshman year and now he’s matured a lot—just in his attitude and ability to be a leader, and to contribute outside of scoring goals,” said Head Coach Sam Gerdano, who has coach Dinn at both the Varsity II and Varsity I level.

Farrell Dinn with his parents on Senior Night

Over these years, Dinn and many other high school players found themselves playing for club hockey teams simultaneously during the season.

“Playing club hockey has always been hard, from traveling most weekends to late practices on school nights, but I have made the most of it,” Dinn said.

This is a reality for many players serious about continuing to play at the NCAA level. A youth or junior club team is often the best way for players to get the development and exposure they need to play at the next level, especially in this area.

“High school hockey is looked down upon because it is not a big deal. Scouts aren’t at your games and it is more for fun,” Dinn said. “So a common problem found in high school hockey, and even playing AAA hockey in Maryland, is that people aren’t motivated enough because there is a stigma that they will not amount to a good hockey player, but that is slowly changing with different teams and opportunities coming to the area.”

This multi-team commitment has made for grueling parts of the season as well as a conflict between responsibilities.

“I am lucky that the Gonzaga schedule is built so I can make it to every game, and I have time to practice with them at least once a week, but it hurts the team when myself and other AAA players miss practice for club practice. My club hockey coach doesn’t like high school hockey too much and views it as a distraction, but I have found if I continue to succeed on both teams there is no problem,” Dinn said.

Dinn has been able to find success with both teams and make things work, and he plans to take the next step in his hockey career after this year.

“Next year I intend on playing for the Maryland Blackbears in the NAHL,” Dinn said.

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) is a junior league whose purpose is to develop young players and prepare them for collegiate and professional hockey. These leagues are often an essential step of a players hockey career, which is different from most other traditional sports.

“With most other sports, the route to college and professional sports is pretty straight forward, but hockey is a whole different animal,” Dinn explained. “The average age of a D1 hockey freshman is 20 to 21 years old, […] a substantial gap between when you graduate highschool at 17 or 18 years old. Colleges want players to be older, bigger and more mature in life and hockey ability, so there is more certainty of the player.”

Even with the extra steps, Dinn remains determined to take his hockey career as far as he can.

“My goals include Playing Division 1 Hockey and some day making it to a professional league,” Dinn said.

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    Leslie KeiserFeb 19, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    A very interesting article. Thanks.