Fresh off capturing his second national championship in three seasons, Brian Dumoulin will join the Charlotte Checkers in yet another pressure-cooked environment.
Dumoulin signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Though he wasn’t available for the Checkers' game in Rockford on Tuesday night (they won 3-0), he will join the team in Peoria for their game on Friday.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time.
With just three games remaining in their regular season, the Checkers are faced with possible postseason elimination if they do not win out. Even going 2-0-1 will require help to sneak into the playoffs, as detailed here.
This win-or-go-home hockey is the type Dumoulin just got finished playing with Boston College, so what better time than now to jump right into the American Hockey League?
“I was almost sad knowing that my season was done after the national championship,” he said. “But, I’m excited to get on the ice and continue to play.”
Selected 51st overall in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by Carolina, Dumoulin will add size – six feet, four inches and 210 pounds, to be exact – and an offensive upside to the Charlotte blueline.
During his three-year collegiate career at Boston College, Dumoulin recorded 11 goals and 72 assists (83 points) and a plus-90 rating, including a plus-40 rating in his freshman year alone, which led the nation. In his sophomore and junior seasons, he led all BC defensemen in scoring and earned All-American honors. This season, he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, annually given to the top collegiate player.
But winning a national title two out of three years? That feels pretty good, too.
“Having felt winning it my freshman year, I knew I wanted it again,” he said. “My sophomore year we lost, and the feeling of losing was awful. I didn’t want to experience it again. For me to win two out of three was awesome and is awesome.”
After a disappointing early exit via an 8-4 loss to Colorado College in the NCAA Tournament last season, Dumoulin had the chance to turn pro and join Charlotte. He ultimately chose to remain for his junior season, a decision that was driven mainly by academics.
“I knew if I would have left after my sophomore year, there would have been no chance really for me to get my degree,” he said. “That’s been important to me having worked so hard for two years there. For that just to be thrown out the window and just gone would have been tough, so I decided to come back for another year to really focus on class and hockey and getting better. I feel like it paid off.”
Not only does he have another national title to show for it, but he’s just a few summer elective classes away from completing his degree.
Now at age 20, Dumoulin will be making what is essentially the exact same leap Justin Faulk made last year: playing AHL hockey after winning a national title. Dumoulin and Faulk are good friends and teammates from the United States World Junior team. The two have spoken – small talk, mostly – since Dumoulin signed, and he said Faulk had good things to say about the organization.
“It’s good to know him and know a guy going into training camp in September,” Dumoulin said.
Though he hasn’t talked much with the Checkers yet, Dumoulin did say that Ron Francis, the Hurricanes’ director of hockey operations, called him to congratulate him on winning another championship, something not many people can claim.
“From that, they just want me to go out there, play, compete and try to become a better player,” Dumoulin said.
And, possibly give Charlotte the boost they might need to qualify for the AHL playoffs for the second straight season.
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