10 Questions With Penn State Hockey Defenseman Jimmy Dowd Jr.
Penn State men’s hockey freshman defenseman Jimmy Dowd Jr. is ready to take his offensive style of play to Pegula this upcoming season.
Dowd put up 26 points (four goals, 22 assists) in 48 games last season with the USHL’s Chicago Steel, where he also served as an alternate captain. While plus/minus is a statistic that garners controversy, it is worth noting Dowd ended last season with a high plus/minus score of +29.
The New Jersey native sat down with Onward State to talk about how he got into hockey, his favorite hockey memory, and his love of Roots.
Onward State: What team did you root for growing up?
Jimmy Dowd Jr.: Growing up it was tough because my dad played on a bunch of different teams, so one year it would be the [Chicago] Blackhawks, the next year would be the [Philadelphia] Flyers. And then after he retired, like years after that, he started working for the [New Jersey] Devils. So then I started rooting for the Devils.
But, I would say I was mainly a Flyers fan growing up. I would go to the rink with him when he still played there and I would be able to hang out with some of the other kids, or some of the other guys on his team’s sons. So that was really cool. My best friend at the time too, he was a huge Flyers fan – so basically I would say I was a Flyers fan growing up.
OS: Do you have a favorite NHL jersey then, since it sounds like since you were a fan of numerous teams growing up?
JD: I mean I know they weren’t really a team when I was around, but I think the Hartford Whalers had the best jerseys of all time. I thought they were really cool. But, if I had to go with a team that was in the league when I was growing up, I really like the Arizona Coyotes third jerseys (Kachina)… I thought those were really cool.
OS: When did you get into playing hockey? Was it super early because your dad played?
JD: I think the first time they put me on the ice, I was two years old, and that was in Minnesota. We had a rink in our backyard basically, it was just a huge pond. So they would put me out on the sled out there and just let me go, just roll me around out there.
But I started learning to play when I was six years old, and ever since then I’ve just sort of fell in love with it and wanted to keep playing.
OS: How has having a dad who played professional hockey impacted you as a player?
JD: It was really cool…he was still in his career when I got to go to the rink with him, and I sort of remember a little bit of that. And then he coached me all the way up until my bantam year. So just having him on the bench and being able to learn from him, using him as a role model — it was really cool just having him around.
OS: Did you play any other sports growing up, or was hockey the main sport that you played?
JD: I played tee-ball growing up. I played soccer for a little bit, in fourth, fifth, sixth grade – and then I played lacrosse in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. And then when I got to high school, I sort of realized that hockey was my true passion and I really wanted to continue and focus on that, so I just stuck to hockey from then on.
OS: Do you have a favorite hockey memory?
JD: My most memorable memory was going to the Clark Cup Finals my first year with Chicago (Steel) and that whole experience was just really amazing. But also when I was younger, when I was a squirt, I had two triple-overtime goals. One was to win a tournament that we went to and the other was to win the state championships (in) our league. So that was really cool.
OS: How has it been adjusting to being a student-athlete?
JD: I think it’s definitely taken a little bit of time. I think by now I’m in a pretty good routine and I’m used to the school and balancing the athletics, too. It’s way different than juniors where you just wake up and go to the rink. Hockey is really all you think about. It’s just nice having that balance with school now too.
OS: Do you have a mentor within the program?
JD: Yeah, Evan Bell is my mentor. He’s obviously another defenseman on the team and he’s been really awesome so far. I was talking to him a lot over the summer about just what to expect – what the coach is like, the coaches, the players, practice and stuff.
I can really just go to him with any questions I have. Whether it’s with hockey or school or life, he’s been a great help so far.
OS: Do you have a favorite place on campus yet?
JD: I would probably say Roots. It’s a pretty awesome place, it’s really healthy food. They give you a ton of food for what you pay for, so that’s pretty cool too.
OS: Finally, per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur what would you be and why?
JD: I would say velociraptor. It’s a quote from the movie Step Brothers, yeah I just thought that was really funny. That’s why I picked that.
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