Carter Dahl Interview
When you look at the different career resumes among WSHL veterans, few come close to that of Colorado Jr. Eagles captain Carter Dahl. The 20-year-old forward is entering his sixth and final season in the WSHL and has been to the Thorne Cup Finals twice (Fresno in 2014 and Colorado in 2017) and was also named an All-Star in the Throne Cup Finals. During his career, Dahl has recorded 52 goals and 75 assists in the regular season as well as 14 goals and 13 assists in the playoffs. Mountain Division Correspondent Charles Woodall-Pike talked with Dahl recently and reflected on his time in the WSHL and what lies ahead for him in the future.
Question: How did you get into hockey?
Dahl: “I’m from Fresno, California where hockey isn’t all too big and it actually started out in Texas when I went to an AHL game with my cousins who actually happen to play so they invited me along, went there and fell in love with it and been playing ever since.”
Question: Your hometown also has a hockey team, the Fresno Monsters, which you got a chance to play for four years. What was that like?
Dahl: “Oh, I loved it. It was great to have the ability to play for a junior team in my own hometown, especially starting when I was 15. It could have been a really rough start if I was somewhere else, becoming homesick and dealing with high school and all that stuff. I was very fortunate in the fact that Coach Bryce Dale took me under his wing and I had the opportunity to play at such a high level at a young age. I have great memories there and can’t bash it at all. It just came time to fly away from the nest and ended up in Colorado.”
Question: Flying away from the nest to become an Eagle...what was the biggest challenge in transitioning from Fresno to Fort Collins?
Dahl: “When I was 17, I left Fresno to experience the NAHL for a little bit and that was in South Dakota. When I went there, it was friendly, very competitive environment. I didn’t know anybody out there so that was pretty rough, especially being 17 trying to figure out high school and all that stuff. I ended up getting cut from there and going back to Fresno so I had a little taste there. When I moved out to Colorado, I saw what the grass was like on the other side. It was a very smooth transition, just different being away from home for so long but hockey really kept me busy. The team, the coaches, my billet family out here has been great so I can’t complain.”
Question: What changes do you see in yourself over last five-six years?
Dahl: “I’ve noticed a lot of changes. From being 15 and hanging out with guys that were 21 years old, they really taught me a lot about becoming a better man and a better hockey player and how to deal with life’s challenges as you grow older and being away from home not just in the hockey aspects. I’ve definitely learned a lot about friendships and what it takes to become a champion, even though I haven’t achieved that yet in the WSHL but we’ve gotten close in Fresno as well as being an Eagle. I’ve learned a lot about becoming a better person, better man, better friend, all that good stuff so all around great experience.”
Question: You’re entering your sixth season in the WSHL, which a lot of players don’t get to say. What went into your decision to stay in the WSHL?
Dahl: “I tried out to make the next league, the NA, didn’t try out in the USHL at all. The WSHL was always kind of my home and I knew that I wasn’t the leading point scorer, I wasn’t the “Carter Dahl this, Carter Dahl that”. I was just another guy out there trying to help his team raise that Cup. The WSHL has always been great to me and it’s always been a very competitive league. Staying in the WSHL hasn’t been all that hard for me, especially because I feel like it’s really getting better as it goes on and they’re making changes to go with it to make sure it’s better for the players, the organizations, all that type of stuff. It wasn’t a hard choice. I’m comfortable being in this league because I know that it will make me a better hockey player.”
Question: What are your dreams for the future after this season?
Dahl: “I do want to go to an NCAA school and play hockey somewhere. Academics is first for me so I would love to go to a prestigious school that has a great hockey program as well.”
Question: If you had to pick a profession outside of hockey, what would you be?
Dahl: “I want to get into business but I feel like that could come a little bit longer down the road because I want to just experience everything that I can. I’m working pest control and construction right now and just getting a taste of those two things, which I never thought that I would. I just want to get myself out and really find out what I do like and what I don’t like. Hopefully further on down the line I can figure out what I really like and create a business out of it.”
Follow Charles on Twitter (@CactusOnIce)
Photo Courtesy of Marc Mauno