By David Song, March 29 2018 —
The Dinos men’s hockey team made a gutsy run to the playoffs this year, winning their final six regular season games. They prevailed over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in a 2–1 opening series before a hard-fought game-three loss in the semifinals to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The second-round playoff exit marked the end of team captain Dan Gibb’s varsity career.
Gibb played 138 regular season games with the Dinos, accumulating 21 points and 128 penalty minutes in the process. Despite the disappointing loss, the fifth-year defenceman has plenty of praise for his team’s effort.
“The biggest takeaway from this year was learning to deal with adversity. We used it to fuel our team in the second half [of the season], especially going to the playoffs,” Gibb said. “I credit the maturity and leadership of the other guys to understand that a lot of stuff was out of our control and to make the best of what we had.”
As one of the most recognized and well-liked players in the locker room, Gibb’s jersey has brandished the C for the past two seasons. Leading his team to the playoffs both years, the Prince George native remains humble about his captaincy.
“Any of our fifth-years could have worn the C and we would have listened to them without fail,” Gibb said. “I’m not a very vocal guy, but I’d like to think my lifestyle and the way I play helps me lead by example.”
Gibb says that an injury this year inhibited his ability to impact his team to the extent he would have liked.
“I wasn’t around the team and the locker rooms nearly as much as I could have been. To see our team fall in the standings was frustrating,” he said. “But as cliché as it sounds, you have to show up at the rink and be the best version of ‘you’ every single day.”
For the men’s hockey team, being your personal best goes beyond athletic performance. They prioritized engaging with the campus community. The team formed many meaningful bonds with other student-athletes in the process.
“We do an annual softball tournament for all Dinos varsity athletes. A lot of our guys have also started study groups with the football team,” Gibb said. “We’ve gotten close with the men’s basketball team as well — shout out to them [for winning the U Sports Championship]. We try to support other teams as much as we can.”
One of the men’s hockey team’s most prominent off-ice traditions is a Christmas party called Hogfest — a Dinos get-together that allocates all proceeds to a local charity.
“Last year, we donated to Tanner Olstad — a student at [Mount Royal University]. His little cousin came down with a rare disease,” Gibb said. “This year, we raised around $1,500 and donated to A Christmas Miracle, which helps donate money to families struggling financially, emotionally or physically.”
Despite the Dinos strong camaraderie, Gibb recognizes the struggle of engaging with non-student-athletes.
“You’re not really in the same circles [as other students]. That’s definitely something all sports teams can look to improve,” he said. “I don’t have an answer, but if we can bridge that gap, it would help the school and all programs immensely.”
Graduating with a major in international relations and a minor in history, Gibb plans to continue his hockey career by going pro in Europe with some fellow fifth-years. After that, he is interested in working in the private sector of the oil and gas industry. Despite never winning a national championship, the veteran blueliner exits his collegiate career with no regrets.
“To wrap it up in one word, it was fun. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t have a chance to raise a trophy with the guys but I loved being apart of the Dinos,” Gibb said. “All the guys I’ve met are basically my family now. We are all Dinos — I do truly believe that.”