Dutcher family embraces game of hockey for the fun of it

Published on January 20, 2017

Minor hockey is a family affair for the Dutcher family of Stephenville, with the boys (from left) Liam and Jack both players with the Stephenville Minor Hockey Association, and mom and dad, David and Amanda, supporting them along the way. The family, like many across the province, is celebrating Minor Hockey Week.

©Frank Gale/TC Media

Work hard every shift, set up his buddies for a goal when he can or cash in on his own scoring chances is all part of the fun Liam Dutcher finds when he puts on his hockey equipment.

Liam, a first-year peewee player in the Stephenville minor hockey system who shares the ice with his nine-year-old sibling, Jack, is one of the many boys and girls from across the province who have been celebrating Minor Hockey Week in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Liam loves the competitive nature of competing for the puck, having fun with his friends and travelling to other centres to take on other new challenges and meet some new friends.

It’s a comfort zone that he wants to continue being in, so hockey is at the top of the list of things he likes to do.

“The coolest thing is just being out there with your buddies and competing,” Liam said earlier this week.

Liam is a forward who racked up 80 goals last season in the atom division and is trying to find his scoring touch in the peewee division this season, but he admits he leaves everything on the ice no matter what when the final buzzer sounds.

“I don’t like losing by blowout, but I don’t mind losing close games,” he said.

He hasn’t been around the game for a long time, but one valuable lesson he has learned is that he knows the only way to approach the game is with a desire to work hard every shift and not worry about anything else other than having fun.

Work hard every shift, create plays and defend when you don’t have the puck, he said.

“I think if you work hard and you play your position, you get rewarded.”

David and Amanda Dutcher are supportive parents of the two boys in their hockey pursuits because dad played the game as a child and has a lot of fond memories of the time spent on cold early mornings at the rink.

“I wanted my two boys to enjoy the game like I did,” David Dutcher said.

David has assumed coaching duties for a number of teams in the Stephenville system, while Amanda is an active volunteer whenever a helping hand is needed to run a tournament or other event, and serves on the Stephenville minor hockey executive as secretary.

As long as the boys are having fun, the Dutchers plan on being immersed in helping the minor hockey program flourish so other children can reap the same rewards as their two sons.

“Fun is the first thing they should look to in hockey,” David said. “I just like the fact they play hard, they enjoy it and I don’t think they take it too serious.”

It’s a game for everybody to enjoy and Dutcher always reminds his players of this every chance he gets.

“I tell them to always remember there are four other players on the ice with them,” he said.