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That Dude Veteran Presence


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London United third-year forward That Dude chats on the team's practice rink with The Terrible Trivium and Hex Rose


It's been an interesting career to say the very least. London United drafted That Dude in S77 at the 10th overall selection despite doing absolutely zero scouting on Dude at all whatsoever and Dude himself even saying pre-draft that he would refuse to play for any organization that did not reach out to him pre-draft. 


"Yeah, I know exactly what I said. London said that they did not even expect me to still be available at the 10th slot, so they had to jump on me. We hit it up right there post-draft and that helped soothe things over with me and my family. And um, I guess I'm still here today. Lucky for London."


Through That Dude's first two seasons, he struggled to find playing time on a veteran-laden team and things were not easy at times. That Dude struggled to find personal successes when opportunities were limited. He shuffled time in between the third line and the second line, playing exclusively at the wing position as opposed to his natural center position. Even then, he was playing alongside veterans who dominated the puck and was the youngest player on the roster (Draft year wise) both of his first two years. 


"I only scored 29 and 39 points my first two years. Yeah, it was cool that we made it to the playoffs both of my first two years here in the VHL, but at the expense of my personal enjoyment and success if you know what I mean? I felt like it was Minnesota (Storm of the VHLM) all over again, me showing my talent only to get benched/shuffled to the lower lines 'cause of other folks like Brendan Telker who wanted more for himself. Here in London, it was folks like Lahtinen in my first year or uh, I forgot who last year but yeah you know where I'm going here."


This year, That Dude finally has some S78 players on the roster -- winger Shane Lazeski and defenseman Sven Reikkinen. On top of that, there are 5 players from the S76 Draft Class (one year older than Dude) so That Dude is starting to feel like he is no longer the kid on the roster. Dude currently ranks second on the team in points (5G, 8A) and leads all United players in hits with 49 through 12 games, something that was missing from his game the first two seasons.


"This year, I get the feeling that I'm starting to command more of the presence on the rink like a veteran does. It's a nice feeling to get that kind of respect amongst your peers. It's translated rather well over to my play on the ice, I'm starting to score and produce more plays. Leading the team in hits too. My plus-minus leaves a lot to be desired for, but I'm trying my damnded best. Somebody's got to become more vocal, be the leader on the team and I suppose if everybody's sort of standing around looking at each other -- I'll go ahead and take one for the team." 

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