With A Little Help From His Friends

Dylan Duke Focuses On The Future With An Assist From His Teammate

Teenage years can be stressful times, whether it’s figuring out where to go to college, what career path to follow or dealing with the thought of moving away from friends and family. 

 

However, USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program alum Dylan Duke can breathe a little easier knowing he’ll be entering the next stage in his life with one of his best friends by his side.

 

Duke, who spent the past two years at the NTDP, is ready to walk onto the University of Michigan campus with former adversary turned teammate, Luke Hughes. Although the two first met during their youth hockey days, it wasn’t until they arrived in Plymouth, Mich., that their friendship began to flourish.

 

“We became friends our 14U year when we were playing against each other. He was playing for Little Caesars and I was playing for Compuware. Over the last two years our friendship has really grown and I consider him one of my best friends,” Duke said. 

 

“We’re planning on being roommates next year at U of M so I’m really excited for that. Hughes is such a great hockey player but at the same time, he’s a great guy and a fun kid to be around and it’s going to be fun to play college hockey with him next year.”

 

As their friendship grew during their two years in Plymouth, so did their skills on the ice as they combined for 158 points playing against some tough competition. 

 

Before they attend their first class in Ann Arbor, they will have the opportunity to team up once again at the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase slated for July 24-31. Not only is this an exciting opportunity for Duke and Hughes to put their best foot forward in hopes of making the U.S. National Junior Team, it also falls around the NHL Draft, which takes place July 23-24, with both players projected to be early selections.

 

“I’m excited for the experience,” Duke said. “It’s such an honor to be part of this showcase and for the opportunity to represent the Unites States at World Juniors.”

 

A Strongsville, Ohio native, Duke said his family and friends back in the Buckeye State may have a hard time rooting for U of M hockey, but they will bite the bullet in order to support one of their own. 

 

For Duke, wearing the maize and blue is something he’s been aiming for since he was a youngster.

 

“Besides developing my skills there, my goal is to win a national championship,” he said. “University of Michigan has always been a dream school of mine and I couldn’t be more excited to be able to play on the hockey team, it’s something really special.”

 

What’s next for Duke, you might ask? Besides preparing for the upcoming NHL Draft and the World Junior Summer Showcase, most importantly, he’s working on how him and Hughes will style their dorm room.

 

“We’re thinking about how we’re going to set it up and trying to plan it out,” Duke said. “Me and him, we’re not great at planning stuff out like that but we’re working on it and hopefully we can get a pretty good set up going.”

 

Michael Reedy is the 2021-23 Brian Fishman Fellow.

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