Former ASU hockey player Sean Dhooghe finds his place in the 3-on-3 league
Whenever Arizona State hockey went into overtime 3-on-3, head coach Greg Powers always knew who would be the one to lead in a high-pressure, highly-skilled environment. Forward Sean Dhooghe, overlooked for his height at 5’3″, brought unparalleled playing ability and speed to the Sun Devils.
His abilities in this format would soon become marketable when Hall of Famer Craig Patrick created a summer league consisting of 3-on-3 hockey called 3ICE.
Patrick’s pre-existing relationship with ASU assistant coach Alex Hicks from Hicks’ playing days with the Pittsburgh Penguins created a connection that put Dhooghe’s name on the shortlist.
“If there was one kid who was tailor-made for 3-on-3 on ice, it’s Sean Dhooghe,” Powers said. “There’s so much ice and open-ice 3-on-3 space and so much ability to be creative. You use your hockey IQ and that’s what Sean has and that’s what made him the player he always was. He’s incredibly small and undersized, but he’s survived really high levels because he’s such a smart player.
Dhooghe made the cut in the six-team league with six skaters on each team. He will be coached by New York Islanders legend Bryan Trottier. Former NHL players Guy Carbonneau, Grant Fuhr, John LeClair, Joe Mullen and Larry Murphy will coach the other teams.
The traveling tournament will take place in nine North American cities this summer. The games will be played in two periods of eight minutes, using a stopwatch, on a life-size ice rink. Each team will participate in a nine-week season that will include six games each night.
“The most exciting thing is that it’s brand new. I know they’ve worked really hard over the years to create the idea and bring it to life, but to be able to be part of its inaugural season and be a completely different game than what you usually play is really exciting,” said Dhooghe. . “It takes the most exciting parts of hockey and makes them permanent, so that’s super cool.”
Dhooghe finished his college career that season with 14 points in 34 games. The forward had an impressive three-year resume at Wisconsin and led the Badgers in scoring in his sophomore season with 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists).
During his two seasons at ASU, Dhooghe made an impression on the coaching staff and will return next season as a graduate assistant.
“It was definitely something that I couldn’t pass up and I think for me the most exciting part is staying with the team and the team atmosphere throughout the season, but also to see the other side of things. I think it’s important at some point that players can see the other side of that door and understand why things are happening,” Dhooghe said.
ASU has had a record six players signing professional contracts this season. The program continues to gain success in preparing players for professional hockey careers.
However, not everyone plans to play professionally after ASU. Dhooghe’s aspirations to become a pilot made it through to playing professionally.
“He could have played in the East Coast Hockey League, maybe he could have gone to the American Hockey League. He could have gone overseas and played on the big ice and won a lot of money. Sean always knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a pilot and when this stuff happened, it’s a short season during the summer and he knows it’s for him,” Powers said.
Dhooghe has spent his career overcoming obstacles as an undersized player and expects to find his niche with the given space in the very powerful 3v3 format.
“There won’t be a lot of contact and that’s what suits my game best. I can model it very well and bring speed, a lot of skill and a lot of scoring opportunities. I think I fit very well into the model of what they’re trying to produce,” Dhooghe said.
The 3ICE season kicks off Saturday, June 18 in Las Vegas. The league championship weekend on August 20 will also take place in Las Vegas. The games will be available on the CBS Sports Network.
ASU will begin its season Oct. 1 at Minnesota-Duluth.