Dylan McCann, the newest player to don the “C” for the Campbell River Storm, seems to be not only a well-rounded player, but also a pretty well-rounded person.
Maybe that’s why head coach and general manager Lee Stone tapped him for the leadership role.
“This is my third year here,” McCann says, “and I’ve been lucky enough to – I don’t want to say ‘mentored’ but I’ve seen the captains who have come before me and had the opportunity to share a bond with them and I think Lee knows that.”
And he was comfortable taking the job when it was offered. He knows what leadership is.
“I don’t think there’s much you can get out of screaming at the boys,” McCann says. “Especially with a younger group like we have here this year. We’re going to make mistakes and there’s going to be a learning curve, but I think if I can lead by example as much as I can and support the team like that when we need to bounce back after mistakes, we’ll be okay.”
McCann’s game isn’t flashy. He doesn’t light the lamp with his amazing moves on breakaways, he doesn’t knock the other team around physically and he’s not always in the right place at the right time to put away the bouncing pucks during scrambles around the net.
Having said that, he is pretty darn fast out there.
“I’ve always prided myself on my skating ability, I guess. I like to think I’ve grown a lot defensively and I think I see the ice well offensively. Since I’ve been here, Lee has really helped me turn into a more well-rounded, 200-foot player.”
Which is just fine with him. He’s never been about being the superstar goal-scorer. Last season, in his 41 games with the Storm, he had 10 goals and 12 assists, good enough for 12th in scoring on the team.
But that makes sense.
“I guess I was kinda weird growing up,” he says with a laugh. “I didn’t want to be like Sydney Crosby or Ovechkin. I was more into the role guys. I used to love guys like Ryan Kesler who play the right way and were really important parts of their team, even if they didn’t get all the attention.”
So what’s the hockey future for a guy like that? He’s in his last year of VIJHL eligibility, so what’s the plan after this?
“I’m not thinking about that too much,” he says. “I want to enjoy the ride during my last year here.
“There are a lot of people who want to be in the position that we’re in and I’m thankful to be here doing this.”
But he certainly isn’t writing off the possibility of going further with his hockey than within the walls of Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
“I suppose there could be a scholarship out there somewhere for me,” he says. “I’m not really too worried about it, but if I can stick to my game and be a leader on and off the ice, the rest of it might come, I suppose. But if I focus too much on it, I’ll just be gripping the stick too tight out there.”
In terms of his non-hockey future, McCann says he’s leaving his options open there, too.
“Right now I’m looking at maybe going into the HVAC program at BCIT because I have some friends and family who have done it and have nothing but good things to say about it,” but I’m also taking a small business management course at NIC right now, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Part of the problem with planning his future career path is that, like his game, he’s a pretty well-rounded fella in terms of his interests.
“I don’t mind working hard and doing stuff in the trades sounds cool, but I could also get a job in sales or advertising or something. I think I’d be suited for that, too. We’ll just have to see how it goes.”
Right now, however, he’s clearly focused on the current hockey season and says he expects nothing short of another championship run.
“Anything less than a championship here is – I don’t want to say a ‘disappointment’ but there’s a standard that has been set that you kinda have to live up to. It’s the pedigree that the Storm has become. If every guy in that room wasn’t here to win a championship, they wouldn’t be here.
“And I’m not trying to sound arrogant, but I think we have the right group to do it. I honestly think this is the best team I’ve been on, and we lost in the league final my first year and we won it last year, so I’m pretty confident that we’ll be bringing it home again.”