46 miles east of Toronto lies the town in Bowmanville, Ontario. Located along the banks of Lake Ontario, the small town of roughly 39,000 is where Ethan Dykstra would call home for the first 10 years of his life. In that small town is where Ethan would first learn what hockey was. He would eventually move to Minnesota between the ages of 10 and 14 before finally landing in Tampa. “Now I’m stuck down here in the swamp known as Tampa.”
Backing up a little bit. At 3 years old Ethan started skating, “I just remember being out there on the ice learning how to skate and telling my mom get me off the ice, but my dad wouldn’t, he kept me out there and it was the best thing to ever happen to me.” Growing up, Ethan played football, he was a linebacker and a tight end. “Honestly, I can’t play an outdoor sport, the heat and I do not get along.”
Ethan is an all A’s and B’s type of student. He is a senior at Newsome High School. He is fascinated with science as well as history. “I love chemistry but really enjoy learning about wars and how they were fought in my history classes.
I could learn about that stuff all day.” As for next year and what lies next for the Newsome senior, he plans on attending college. He isn’t sure which one yet but has a good plan in place. “From what I can tell, no matter what college you go to, the first two years are the same anywhere that you go. So, one of my options is to go to Hillsborough Community College and the head to USF. For me, it saves me money and I really like the sound of that. Or maybe I’ll go to USF right after high school, we’ll see. All I know is that I either want to go into computer engineering or sports medicine. I love the idea of working in sports! I know there is a lot more involved in the field but to be working every day and being paid to think about sports really excites me as something I would like to do as a career.”
When pressed on the issue about potentially playing hockey after this year, Ethan had this to offer, “I would love to play in college, but I really haven’t had the exposure to go play at the next level. That’s the issue with travel and why I am excited about the EDP team because week after week after week my Tampa Bay Crunch team plays the same kids. With EDP, we are going all over for the new competition. I can’t wait for the end of the month when we go back to where I grew up and go to the Schwann Super Rink. I have a lot of memories playing there as a kid.”
The six-foot-tall Newsome senior has been a member of the LHSHL for all four years of high school. He has seen immense growth of the league in that time frame. “Everything thing has grown, but nothing sticks out more than the competition, I wish we played at Amalie more, I miss playing games at Amalie Arena. But overall, I will miss my coaches, my teammates, and the locker room.”
I caught up with Ethan’s coach, Mark Rosengard after an EDP practice the other night. Here is what he had to say about his senior defensemen, “Ethan is a skilled and solid defenseman, a great Team Captain, and a young man with significant potential on multiple fronts. As a leader for his teammates, he’s shown innate compassion and an ability to set the example. He sets the tone for the varsity practices, as one would expect a team captain to do – but he also makes himself available to the junior varsity group and demonstrates even the most basic skills and drills so the younger group can better understand what the coaches want. None of this is ‘below’ him – Ethan is always willing to do what’s needed to keep things moving. He holds down a part-time job at the Brandon Rink and maintains solid grades – he handsomely balances all of that while playing for three different hockey teams; no small feat.
On the ice, he is an obvious presence. He is fast and strong, capable of moving the puck and changing the balance of almost any game. Three years ago, as a freshman on a fairly stacked team of upperclassmen, Ethan was a very quiet member – almost withdrawn but he has grown into his skin, and his personality has grown with that. He is as comfortable with the adults as he is with the freshmen. His enthusiasm for the game and his role as a leader is all as clear as the smile on his face.”
As for fun, Ethan is more than a hockey junkie. He a full-blown car enthusiast. He travels up and down the state with friends to go to car shows, “I probably go to three or four car shows a month. My buddies and I actually just got back from a show in Miami. I love loud cars, I don’t know when it started but it is just something I have always enjoyed. I love going to shows and seeing the Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s. But nothing gets me as excited as seeing my dream car, the Nissan R 34. I will own one of those someday.”
Ethan came into Lightning Made studios last week. We chatted, I showed him the new Adidas EDP jerseys, and we played some ball hockey with the staff at Lightning Made staff. He is a tremendous kid with a bright future. I look forward to traveling the country with him this upcoming year as he continues to grow as a leader in this league.
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