Dacey Dupuis already had a bit of name recognition within the Sudbury minor hockey marketplace.
Now, those horizons have expanded.
The 13 year-old grade 7 student at Ecole Secondaire Macdonald-Cartier was named Tournament MVP at the recent All-Ontario U13 AAA Hockey Championships in Thunder Bay after finishing as the leading scorer at the week-long competition, helping to lead the Nickel City U13 AAA Sons to a silver medal performance against the very best teams in the province.
"Everyone was so good there, the drive of everyone wanting to win is so high," suggested Dupuis, who scored six goals over the course of five round robin games, netting his biggest marker of the week with a game-winning strike in double overtime to give the Sons a 2-1 semi-final win over the Sun County Panthers.
"Against better teams, everybody plays better, forechecks harder, creates more scoring opportunities," said Dupuis, the eldest of two children in the family, younger sister Thea also playing competitive hockey with the Sudbury Lady Wolves.
"I think if I can be a big factor in those games, we have a good chance of winning."
Mixing both baseball and lacrosse into a busy schedule that has always included hockey in his youth, Dupuis carries with him a very natural degree of competitiveness, even as he moves from one season to the next.
"I was always very passionate about my sports, doing everything that I can do to win, looking to make everyone around me better," he stated.
Still, when he steps on the ice, there is a bit of extra magic that always appears imminent, pretty much any time the puck is on his stick. "My creativity, how I think the game is quite good," said Dupuis. "My decision-making is very good - when to pass the puck and when to carry it."
"I am pretty good at knowing where people are going to be and where I have to go when I don't have the puck."
Drawing more serious attention now that his teenage years have arrived, Dupuis knows that there remains plenty of work to be done in order to achive his goals, both short-term and long-term.
"I need to get stronger, to be able to push people around a little more and not let people push me around," he said. "I am doing plyometrics - and some weights. I need to have a harder and more accurate shot and make my passes more accurate."
Like most who tend to excel on the ice, Dupuis has learned quickly how to make the most of every single opportunity to improve.
"I always work on a couple of moves in practices for breakaways, one on ones, two on ones. When you get to a game, I have a better chance with those moves."
While Dupuis did find time to suit up in the uniform of the (ESMC) Panthères for both soccer and hockey tournaments this year, his keen interest in other sports such as volleyball and basketball remained shelved as he starts to look at where he sees himself three years down the road, armed with a very healthy perspective.
"The OHL draft is a long time from now - anything could happen," suggested Dupuis. "I just want to play my best, do my best, and hopefully things go the right way."
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