Dan Dupont of Wallingford in his scholastic playing days at Xavier.
August 12, 2014 11:06PM
By Ken Lipshez
WALLINGFORD — Wallingford native and Xavier High graduate Danny Dupont yearned to play college hockey.
The hard-nosed, stay-at-home defenseman placed his future in the hands of fitness and training professional Pete Asadourian, who runs his annual Pro Hockey Camp through his Newington-based company, Future Fitness.
For the second year, Dupont is training with Asadourian and Yale hockey coach Keith Allain, along with others playing the sport at high levels ranging from college to the NHL, in a comprehensive preparation for the season ahead.
The grueling week-long session culminates Friday night with the annual camp scrimmage, which is open to the public. The game, which is slated to feature Vancouver Canucks center Nick Bonino of Unionville and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey of Bolton, will start at 5 p.m. at the Newington Ice Arena.
The $5 admission charge will be donated to the Northeast Sled Hockey League, which provides a forum for players of any age or gender with lower-limb impairment.
Dupont, upon graduating from Xavier in 2013, participated in a post-graduate year at South Kent School in its Selects Hockey Academy U-18 National program. The National Honor Society recipient will further his academic and hockey pursuits at Division III Colby College in Waterville, Maine
“You can’t really go to college hockey out of high school hockey anymore, so that’s why I post-gradded at South Kent,” Dupont said. “We played about 70 games against junior teams from all over. That’s a huge advantage. College scouts will not go to high school games.”
Asadourian has run the camp for 10 years, during which time its reputation has spread internationally. One of the professional players on hand is Matt Nickerson, a native of Old Lyme and former Edmonton Oilers minor leaguer with the Springfield Falcons. He now plays in the Elite Ice Hockey League in Scotland.
“We work with a lot of college, NHL, AHL and international professionals,” Asadourian said. “That’s what this camp is built for. It gives them their send-off to training camp.”
Asadourian provides all the amenities players are used to in training camp, right down to the laundering of uniforms, equipment needs and nutrition. He said the camp thus prepares a player mentally as well as physically for what lies ahead.
“D’Amato Chiropractic [of Newington] comes in for daily massage therapy, we do yoga. It’s the full boat,” said Asadourian, the former boys basketball coach at Rocky Hill High. “It mimics what they’re going to be getting a couple of weeks from now.
“It’s a lot of work, but after 10 years the camp has a name in hockey. Guys from New York, Boston — even a goalie from Belgium — came in for it. [Allain] does a great job.”
Dupont, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound scrapper who earned a high school reputation for leadership, blocking shots and excelling on special teams, relishes the opportunity.
“It’s the best,” he said. “We’re competing in a really good culture. [Asadourian] sets up the perfect atmosphere so you can get better. Summer is a really important time to get bigger, stronger and faster, and he’s really in tune as to where you need to be.”
Dupont, who also considered Middlebury among other New England Small College Athletic Conference schools, isn’t looking too far ahead. He said Division III players rarely receive professional consideration, but his intense desire to be at his best drives him.
“We want hard-working guys,” Asadourian said. “We do train the average guy, but the average person has to work hard for their goals. We identify their goals. We identified that Danny wanted to be faster, stronger and bigger, and we’ve done that.
“He works hard. He s a locker-room guy. He’s quick and aggressive. For a guy that size, he doesn’t shy away from the corners.”
Dupont, who was named the Defensive Defenseman of the Year as a senior with Xavier while garnering six goals and 19 assists, is planning to major in economics. His older brother, Charlie Dupont, captained Xavier in 2011 and plays club hockey at Providence College.