He led the rookies in assists with 10, was second among the rookies in scoring and goals, was voted co-rookie of the year by his teammates in the 2000-2001 season as a freshman at the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA), and is currently tied for first with four other skaters for game winning goals in the WCHA. “Who is it?” you may ask. #37 of the Seawolves, Dallas Steward.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to develop a friendship with Dallas in my short time of going to school here so far. We both can relate to many things, the main one, being so far from home since he is a native of Wisconsin and I am from Michigan. Going to every home game and watching Dallas play along with the others is great enjoyment! He may be small, but his sheer determination and speed doesn’t let anything get in the way. Just recently I had the chance to sit down one-on-one to interview him.
Steward a 5’5, 172 lb, sophomore forward sure has many fond memories in his hockey career with more along the way. However he credits those that have helped him along his path of success. When asked who he felt has helped him in making it this far in hockey, Steward was sure to recognize everyone with the response, “Definitely great coaches! Jim Cherrier (youth hockey coach), and Scott Parker for two years at home. Then at the age of 16, I left home for Minnesota to play for Beniled St. Margarets, coached by Ken Pauly. After playing there I headed to Green Bay to play for Mark O’Seiky of the Green Bay Gamblers, a Junior A team in the USHL. Last, but not least, the support from some outstanding parents, family and friends.”
Dallas had many offers from other colleges besides UAA, such as partial scholarships from St. Cloud State, Nebraska Omaha, and Colorado College. Denver and Michigan Tech offered him walk on positions due to the fact the scholarships were taken up. When talking about his decision to play college hockey I asked, “What made you choose UAA out of all the other colleges?” “Well it basically began with my recruit trip where I met with the team, coaching staff and UAA also had my degree, which is journalism and public communications. Honestly I never thought I would end up in Alaska, but I also have no regrets!” he said.
Anyone who has played hockey most of their lives is sure to have some fond memories and some great achievements. Steward stated that, “my fondest would be playing on the Chippewa Falls High School varsity team as a freshman when I scored the game winning goal in double overtime against Eau Claire in the playoffs. Hhhmmm…. my greatest achievement so far would have to be winning the Clark Cup, which is the best award you can receive in the USHL, and then playing in the Junior National Championships.” Dallas has had many more, however those are the ones he is sure to share for a lifetime.
Being a hockey player you are most likely to have a professional that you tend to look up to or want to imitate. Many players choose one with their sense of style, therefore Steward chose Martin Straka, who is from the Czech Republic and plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Along side Straka is Theuran Fluery of the New York Rangers. “They are both gritty and that’s what I like,” he said.
Next, if you are familiar with college hockey you will know that the playoffs begin at the end of next month. Currently the UAA Seawolves sit ranked 7th in the WCHA standings. As the playoffs skate closer I asked Dallas what his goals are personal and team wise. With now hesitation he answered, “To hopefully get home ice advantage, definitely beat instate rivals, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and to peak as a team at the right time is going to be important as well. For myself personally is to contribute the best I can as a team and see where we go from there.”
“I have many goals!” Claims Steward. “Those include working my fanny off to play in the pros as long as I make it or even play semi-pro either here or overseas.” He said.
Being small Dallas was always told he wasn’t going to make it far, but look at him now. His best advice to anyone aspiring to play college hockey or juniors is to “shoot for your dreams and don’t let people tell you otherwise!”
I would like to thank Dallas for his time. Good Luck in your feature endeavors and to the Seawolves as you enter the playoffs next month!