OKOTOKS ALTA (660 NEWS) – Ninety-two games played since July 2018, that is what the past year has looked like for 17-year-old Dylan Holloway.
This includes regular season, playoffs, selection camps, and international duty, starting with his first selection camp with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team in July to the bronze medal game at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship in April. In between, he continued to play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) for the Okotoks Oilers.
Holloway said it has been an incredible season filled with opportunities he could only dream of.
“Starting off at the Hlinka tournament in August it was an awesome experience and then being able to win gold was amazing,” Holloway said, adding he made some life long friendships on the team. “Play throughout the year with the Okotoks Oilers was a tonne of fun, and getting to go to the Jr A championship was an amazing experience, and then to finish it off in Sweden getting to represent my country was unbelievable.”
In the AJHL this year Holloway scored 41 goals and put up 88 points, making him second in the league. He scored in 42 of the 53 games he played this season.
That included an 18-game scoring streak from Nov. 24, 2018 – Feb. 2, 2019.
An amazing accomplishment! Congratulations Dylan Holloway! https://t.co/dtcfp5kXxd
— TheAJHL (@TheAJHL) May 17, 2019
Holloway added 13 points in 11 playoff games as the Okotoks Oilers pushed the Brooks Bandits to a six-game South Division Final.
He said his head coach in Okotoks Tyler Deis continued to push and encourage him over the course of the season.
“He helped me develop into the player I am today, he gave me a ton of opportunities and that helped me throughout the year.”
However, Deis was just one of the many coaches Holloway said he got the opportunity and privilege to work with.
“My coaches at Hockey Canada are all different, but they are all great coaches, and they gave me the opportunity to play different roles in different situations there that I didn’t have in Okotoks and that helped me grow as a player as well,” Holloway said.
All of this has led to the young forward being named Canadian Junior Hockey League Player of the Year.
“It is a huge honour, and there is a ton of players in all the leagues across the country who could have got that too, but it is a blessing being named player of the year,” Holloway said.
Holloway is the fifth AJHL recipient of the award in the past seven years. He now joins a list of recipients which includes former and current NHL players like Paul Kariya, Dany Heatley, Kyle Turris, Tyson Jost, and Cale Makar, among others.
However, Holloway is still keeping his eye on the prize, as he has a list of things he wants to work on moving forward. The top of which is getting better when it comes to his defensive play.
“That is a massive part of the game, and I think it is lacking at the moment,” Holloway said, adding there are a few skills he would like to work on as well, including getting faster with his skating. “I think I am a good skater, but playing at the next level is much faster and quicker than I need to be able to keep up with that for sure. I also need to work on getting the release on my shot quicker as goalies continue to get better the higher up in the sport you go.”
— Gino De Paoli (@GDP_PXP) May 3, 2019
The next step for Holloway is heading to the University of Wisconsin where he will be competing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
He said it was a tough decision to make as he weighed his options, which included possibly playing in the Western Hockey League but he felt that going to the United States gave him the best chance of achieving his goals.
“I felt my development would be better because I will able to put more of focus on training, and growth as a player while getting an education on top of it.”