For Highlands Ranch native Jimenez, USPHL proving to be step in right direction for development
Dylan Jimenez was born in North Carolina and moved to Colorado when he was five years old.
During his youth living in Highlands Ranch, Jimenez found a love for hockey and played for the Littleton Hawks, Colorado Rampage and Colorado Springs Tigers.
Last season, he moved on to junior hockey with the USPHL’s Provo Predators and is back in the league this season with the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings.
“I did a camp this past offseason in May in Detroit with the NCDC,” Jimenez said. “After a game I played, my current head coach, Paul Pechmann, walked up to my dad and asked, ‘Is that your kid?’ My dad laughed and responded with, ‘Yeah.’ I walked out of the locker room and Coach Paul talked all about how good the team will be this year and all the opportunity for me, and safe to say I was sold.
“Last season in Provo was definitely a learning year. I didn’t play all the games, but I learned how to play the game at a high pace and the way you need to get along with your teammates even if you don’t necessarily like them.”
Jimenez explained that it is appealing playing in a league that sends so many players to the college hockey ranks.
“My goal has always been NCAA Division I hockey, which is a dream I am still chasing,” said Jimenez. “If I can’t, there are hundreds of other opportunities to play NCAA Division III or ACHA Division I.”
Back home, Jimenez said his youth hockey days were positive, on and off the ice.
“One of my big highlights was winning the state championship on the Pepsi Center ice as a Squirt,” Jimenez said. “It was my first time ever playing on a massive ice surface and it’s one of my early memories I’ll never forget. A coach that influenced me was my skills coach Matt Frick, who is a local legend and developed my skills from an early age up until this day. Another great coach is Dave Fromm, who recently passed away. He was one of the first extremely strict coaches who at the time was kind of scary at 13, but now I realize he was preparing me for junior hockey.”
Looking ahead, Jimenez sees hockey in his life for the long haul.
“My short-term goal in hockey is to play Tier II hockey in the NAHL and to play college hockey,” said Jimenez. “My long-term goal is to play professionally somewhere in Europe because I’d love to learn new languages. Another long-term goal I have is to get into the front office side of hockey. I always love playing GM mode on the NHL video game and being a GM in the NHL would be another dream of mine.”
— Matt Mackinder
(October 24, 2023)