Being on the ice has always been a part of Hunter Doddsâ€™ life. As far as he can remember, he has always loved playing hockey with his friends.Â
While the sport itself always came natural to him, falling in love with skating was a different story. His father, David, said when Hunter Dodds was younger they lived in Minnesota, and as part of the culture out there, as soon as you can walk you head to the ice.Â
He said as far as when his son fell in love with the sport, â€śit definitely wasnâ€™t the first time I put him on the ice.â€ť
â€śThe first time I put him on the ice, he was screaming and he was crying and he wanted off,â€ť David Dodds said. â€śThankfully, we had a coach in Minnesota that said leave him with me. He went from crying to begging me to get him on the ice.â€ťÂ
After living in Minnesota, the Dodds moved to Burlington, where Hunter Dodds attended and graduated with honors from Lewis Mills High School in 2020.
In pursuit of his goal of being a collegiate student-athlete, he played junior hockey with the Springfield PICS of the United States Premier Hockey League. His goal then became a reality at the start of the fall semester as he accepted a scholarship to continue playing hockey at Indiana Tech.Â
He said the news came as a shock because he wasnâ€™t sure if heâ€™d even go to college. He said he was on the fence about it and while he was playing his last year of junior hockey he figured heâ€™d get a job and start a career afterwards.Â
â€śIt was a dream come true and unexpected,â€ť Dodds said. â€śThere's nothing I'd rather be doing than playing hockey.â€ť
For Dodds, he fell in love with hockey not only because of the competition, but also the team camaraderie. He said around third and fourth grade, he started to love it because it was his opportunity to play with his friends.Â
That love for the game and the locker room grew into a desire and motivation to keep getting better. David Dodds said that he always saw the desire in his son and thatâ€™s why he agreed to support him on his journey, as long as he maintained his grades and stayed out of trouble.Â Â Â
â€śHe worked very hard in school and very hard in hockey and quite frankly he focused on both with gazelle-like focus,â€ť he said. â€śIt was a 12-month a year thing for him for almost all of his youth.â€ť
David said Hunter Dodds would get up really early, eat, go to school, come back, do his homework, go to the gym and then go to hockey. At the time, Hunter Dodds was playing in Springfield so he wouldnâ€™t get home until around midnight.Â
His father said heâ€™d wake up and do it all over again.Â
â€śAs a father a lot of things came easy to him athletically and academically and I had to try and find ways to challenge him, but at the end of the day it was very easy for me as a father because he was really committed to both his academics and his craft,â€ť David Dodds said.