Dalton Berkey: A Formidable Hockey Leader

The assistant captain’s impact on and off the ice


Photo courtesy of Dalton Berkey

Team photo taken with Dalton Berkey (second row, twelfth from the left)

Ella Griffin and Finn Elliott, Staff Writers

When he’s not on the ice, you can find him at the very front of the student section leading chants, waving towels, and attentively watching every moment of whatever sporting event he’s attending.

Senior left wing Dalton Berkey is nothing if not a Creek aficionado. The varsity hockey assistant captain has nothing but love for his school and the comradery that goes hand in hand with being a sports fan.

“Creek is the best place ever,” Berkey said. “It’s important to support your fellow classmates because they work really hard at what they do.”

Hockey is thought of as one of the more physically aggressive sports, with players slamming each other into the boards and getting in fist fights, and one might assume that Berkey would be at the forefront of that, especially with his spirited appearances at Creek events. But when asked if he was the team hype man, Berkey instead proclaimed himself the “Team Zen.”

“I lead by example,” Berkey said. “I feel like actions speak a lot louder than words, so I just try to do things right and work hard.”

Head Coach Jeff Mielnicki would agree with Berkey’s assessment of his personality and work ethic.

“He unifies everything you’d want as a teammate and coach,” Mielnicki said. “You can tell what type of person he is; he’s very modest and character-driven.”

His teammates feel the same, as the praise for their assistant captain does not just extend from the coaches.

“He’s always pushing everyone around him and himself to get better every day. It’s been amazing working with Dalton,” senior captain and Grandview student Addy Powell said.

Berkey is considered someone that the team can always look up to and trust, and even teammates’ parents have said that he has always been a supportive teammate towards everyone.

“[A teammate’s mom] said to me the other day, ‘I think Dalton is the nicest kid I’ve ever met,’ and that was a proud moment to hear that,” Damie Berkey, Dalton’s mother, said. “We’re lucky that we get to hear that pretty frequently with him. He’s a good kid.”

Berkey started to play at hardly five years old, and he fell in love with the game. As Berkey grew older, hockey continued to shape him and lead him to where he is today: public-spirited and someone people want to be around. 

“Dalton received the hardhat, which is an award for the most selfless player, supporter, and hardest worker,” Mielnicki said.

Berkey may have inherited his supportive nature from his parents, who are always there to see their son through the ups and downs.

“We are at every single game,” Damie Berkey said. “We celebrate together in many ways, the wins and the losses and the challenges.” 

With no solid college plans that involve hockey, Berkey is focusing on living in the present and enjoying himself with his teammates both on and off the ice.

“It’s just so fun to be with your teammates,” Berkey said. “My sophomore year we all stayed up late and we were at this tournament in Chicago. We had a paper airplane competition to see who could get it across the middle of this big open area. It’s those little things.”

Berkey gave three words that he hopes his teammates would describe him as: fun to be around, supportive, and hard working. But they think of him as much more than those three things. Powell described Berkey as a “great dude, on and off the ice.”

“He is passionate about the game and our team, someone who will pick others up when they are down, and someone who is always uplifting,” Powell said. “The team wouldn’t be the same without Dalton.”