Former OHL goalie Taylor Dupuis will be joining AOHL as a regular contributor, sharing his thoughts on junior hockey, the pressures hockey players face, transitioning to CIS and pretty much whatever else Taylor can think of. Here’s Taylor’s first article, with plenty more to come:
My name’s Taylor Dupuis and I’m excited to be joining the www.aroundtheohl.com crew as I will be blogging and talking hockey through personal experience. A little bit about myself, I am 21 years old and am in my first year of post secondary at Ryerson University in the heart of Toronto playing for the Ryerson Rams. Born and raised in New Liskeard, Ontario, I left home at the young age of 17 to experience and pursue junior hockey. Beginning in Stratford, Ontario playing for the Stratford Cullitons, I then went on to play three years in the Ontario Hockey League, one year with the Sudbury Wolves and my final two years of junior hockey with the Sarnia Sting. This is my first crack at this so please bear with me but I am very excited to share my experiences with you guys and hope you enjoy!
I remember growing up, the closest OHL team to my hometown was the Sudbury Wolves. Whether we were in Sudbury for a game or a tournament, going to a Wolves game was a must. At the time, that level of hockey was unimaginable. You look up to them, doing anything for a high five or an autograph, buying a jersey, all of the things that made going to an OHL game as a kid so memorable. Skip ahead to years later and there I am, waiting for my name to be called during player intros and skate through the big wolf onto the ice in front of thousands of fans. I remember thinking to myself, holy shit! And to be honest, that feeling came to me every single game for the next three years.
I was fortunate enough to have played three years in the OHL, experiencing everything that came with it. The atmosphere, the arenas, the fans, a trade, you name it, I’ve probably seen it. During my last season with the Sarnia Sting, slowly but surely the thought of what’s next creeps into your mind, but seriously, what was next? I had no idea. Was I playing for a contract, of course I was but in the end there is still life after hockey, decisions were going to have to be made that were best for me. Phone calls were coming in as the season came to an end from schools I never even knew existed, selling themselves, their academics, their team.
For the last 3 years, school was the last thing on my mind and now I must make a decision on where to go. I mean, only 8 or 9 months ago I was sitting on the team bus playing cards or hanging out at a billet’s house with the boys. Fast forward to right now, post junior hockey. I sit here at a university library with thousands of students around me all focused on school. How does one go from focusing on hockey and nothing else, to what my next essay will look like or how I did on a midterm? Well let me tell you first hand, it’s not easy.
School has taken over top spot on the priority list and hockey is now second, no good grades means no ice time. Going into my first year of university I had a new found motivation that after three years away from school, I really was going to focus on school, make sure I do well, stay organized and get assignments in on time, but trust me, it doesn’t take long for your room to be a disaster or for the dishes to pile up. After all, I do have to do my own groceries and cook my own food now. Not having billets has been tough, not having anyone looking after you, cooking your meals and in some cases cleaning up for you, it’s probably one of the biggest adjustments to make but so far with the help of an endless list of family, friends, teammates, coaches, academic mentors, etc. the whole transition has been overall a pretty good experience.
At the time of junior hockey, it’s hard to think about what may be next and it’s okay to not want to think about it but to whom it may concern, good things end for better things to come around and that’s exactly what has happened to me and to thousands of ex-junior hockey players that now have a new set of challenges in store for us. Until next time,
Taylor Dupuis #29
Follow Taylor on Twitter, and stay tuned for his regular contributions at aroundtheohl.com