Hockey club president committed despite shortcomings

The Pullman native hopes than an ice rink will be built closer to Pullman to avoid driving to Lewiston.


JONI COBARRUBIAS | The Daily Evergreen

John "JD" Dunn IV, captain of the club WSU Hockey Team, reflects on his passion for the sport as a kid and discusses the expenses the team face due to WSU lacking an ice rink.

DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen reporter

Dedication. A word that requires sacrifice.

John “JD” Dunn IV knows this word quite well. He drives to Lewiston each Wednesday just to put on his hockey skates and play the game he loves.
Dunn is not only a player, but reaps the responsibility of being president of the WSU hockey club.

He and his teammates make the trip once a week to practice for their games. Players on the team pay for everything out of pocket with the club, receiving no funding from the university. Dunn balances two jobs, hockey and the rigors of college every day and looks to hockey as a way to counter his hectic schedule.

“It’s a stress reliever,” Dunn said. “During the hockey season, I do find myself more relaxed than when I’m not playing hockey for a while.”

WSU competes in the Pac-8 Hockey Conference, which is in Division II of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Teams in the Cougars’ conference include: Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, USC and University of Washington. Utah moved up to Division I this offseason, leaving seven teams in the conference this season.

Prior to this week, players on the team drove an hour and a half on Saturday and Sunday to practice at the nearest full-size hockey rink located in Cheney, Washington. The ice rink in Lewiston is about half the size of a rink that can be used for hockey so all the WSU home games are played in Cheney. Dunn said it’s hard for a lot of students to make this time commitment and sees the location of the rinks as a major hurdle for the team.

“I think right now, our issue is we don’t have a rink nearby,” Dunn said.

The team has been trying to convince people in the Pullman community to build a full-size rink on the Palouse for years, Dunn said, but nothing has been done.
“I don’t know what it is … people just don’t see the connection to why we should spend money on a rink,” Dunn said.

If the team gets their own personal rink, then they could become NCAA eligible. The construction of a potential rink would benefit the entire Pullman-Moscow community, Dunn said.

“Having a full-size ice rink would help the development of all the Moscow and Lewiston teams, and I think it would get a lot more kids involved in doing something active,” he said.

Dunn even said Greek life would benefit by having date dashes and other events at the rink.

In the middle of October, the athletes will get some relief from driving to Lewiston when the half ice rink in Moscow opens. The team will practice there for the remainder of the season.

Dunn, 21, has been playing hockey since he was five years old and lived in Pullman up until the sixth grade when his family decided to move to western Washington. His dad went to school at WSU when they lived in Pullman and played for the WSU hockey team. Dunn said he watched his dad play hockey and credits him for sparking his interest in the game.

When Dunn graduated high school, he decided to head back to Pullman, enrolling at WSU. Dunn is majoring in kinesiology and minoring in sports strength and conditioning. He said the team is shooting for the playoffs this season. To make the playoffs, the Cougs will have to finish in the top-six of the conference.

The team made the postseason last year, but couldn’t afford to make the trip. Dunn said the freshmen class of players is the best he has seen in his four years with the team.

“I think our freshmen class coming in is probably the biggest we’ve had in a while, and they are all really talented.”

Going into his final year with Cougar hockey, Dunn said he won’t forget any of the memories he has made with the team.

“I wouldn’t trade any of my teammates … or any experience I have had with the team for anything else,” he said.

WSU hockey opens the season 3 p.m. Saturday against USC.