Eugene, OR. -The Generals have seen their fair share of Alaskans to come and go over the years.
From the first-ever captain with Ryan Schank, to the current head coach Justin Kern, there are plenty of players who have left their homes in the nation’s largest state to go to a new home in Eugene.
That being said, there has never been an Alaskan player to be with the Generals for a third season. Christian “Buddy” Dale is prepared to break that mold and become the first Alaska native to play a third year with the Generals.
From Wasilla, located about forty minutes away from Anchorage, Dale has spent the last two years with the Eugene Generals, his first two in junior hockey. Over the course of two seasons, Dale has played in 73 games and accumulated 45 points. Thirty-three of those points came during this past season, in which he emerged as a scorer and leader on the team.
During the previous season, Dale displayed not just improved hockey abilities, but also a 180-degree change in attitude and maturation that would lead to his becoming a primary weapon on offense for the Generals. In the team’s final six games of the season, Dale recorded an astounding fifteen points—seven goals and eight assists—by far the most of any other player during that span and was awarded the team's Most Improved Player. Second on the team in points at the end of last year, he talked about how his second season impacted him on and off the ice.
“Overall, last season was a complete attitude check for me and I became a better hockey player and person because of it,” Dale explained. “Being a General has impacted me the most because I have had people who have become like family to me.”
One of his favorite personal moments with the Generals so far happened on January 31, 2015. Not only was it the Generals’ final home game of the season, it was also a personal achievement for the Alaska native; Dale achieved his first career hat trick in a 6-2 win over the Tri-Cities Outlaws. His final goal came with just over a minute left in the game, as Dale intercepted an Outlaws pass in their zone and subsequently went top shelf to complete his first ever hat trick.
Just two weeks later on February 15, Dale raised the stakes with another career performance. The third game in a three-day weekend on the road, the Generals did not have a lot to play for after being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs the night before. Still, that did not stop him nor the Generals from going off in a 9-5 victory over the Outlaws in Kennewick. Dale had a significant contribution in the win, recording a career-high seven points with a goal and six assists. His seven points were the most by a Generals player in a single game since Hunter Hartman tallied eight back on January 7, 2014.
Aside from hat tricks and setting career-highs, Dale also embraces other aspects of life as a General, including one of his favorite moments: road trips. Being the only NPHL team in Oregon, the Generals have to travel the most of any other team in the league by far. The closest team to Eugene is the West Sound Warriors, who play in Bremerton and happen to be a four-and-a-half hour drive away. With other bus rides that can take up to eight hours, it gives time for players to bond and connect with one another, something which Dale himself acknowledges.
“Besides the hat trick, all the road trips would be another favorite memory of mine,” Dale reminisced. “Hanging out with all the guys in the hotel before the game is something I’ll always remember.”
Dale, who just graduated from high school last Thursday, has been keeping himself busy during the offseason, primarily with his varsity baseball team. His high school baseball team, the Wasilla Warriors, have had success this season as they are currently first in their conference and for regions. Playing baseball, along with running and working out at the gym every day, has kept Dale in great shape as he looks forward to what the hockey season has in store for him personally as well as the Generals.
“I have improved on my skills and I know that we’re going to have more players from different places,” Dale stated. “I feel like we’re going to have a well-rounded team this year.”
The Generals will try to put together a well-rounded team after the team’s Main Camp in August. Dale will be in attendance for the camp, which will be held at the Rink Exchange from August 14-17.
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