By Isabella Apple
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Dylan Wheeler started playing hockey at five years old in Colorado. He learned to skate like many of his teammates did, on frozen lakes. He played competitive hockey as early as he could and he hasn’t looked back since.
Before high school, Wheeler played for the Arvada Hockey Association, and then played for his high school, the Valor Christian Eagles.
Surprisingly, the forward we know and love on the Orange spent most of his life between the pipes. From 8th grade to his senior year, Wheeler played goaltender and even tried out for Syracuse his freshman year as a net-minder.
Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right for Dylan as there were no open goalie spots on the team and he was left hockey-less to start college. Still eager to be on the ice in blue and orange, Wheeler decided to go back to being a skater and tried out at forward to begin his sophomore year, and the rest - as they say - is history.
Wheeler found his place on the team on and off the ice. To reflect on his time in an Orange uniform he said it’s been an unbelievable experience with all the teammates he’s had over the seasons.
“Every season has been different, every season has its ups and downs, but it has been a great three years, and I’ve had a great group of teammates all three years so it’s been awesome.”
Wheeler, a Finance and Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises duel major doesn’t know exactly what he wants to do after leaving Syracuse this spring, but he is sure he wants to go back west to Colorado.
“Colorado’s home,” said the senior. “I’ve had a great four years here but I want to go back home, it’s always sunny in Colorado - it’s not like that here.”
But, before he packs up and leaves the East Coast behind there are still a few loose ends for Wheeler to tie up. The first of those will come Sunday, March 1st at Tennity Ice Pavillion where Wheeler and the six other seniors will be celebrated for their time as an Orangeman.
“I think [senior night] will be, you know, kind of sad but it’ll be a nice recap to honor everyone. It’s really special for this group of seniors to go out together so it’s gonna be a special pre-game ceremony for sure,” Wheeler said.
The seniors’ recap will surely include their incredible run in last years playoffs when they took home the ESCHL Championship in a thrilling finale against Liberty, and for Dylan, his highlight came this season during the Orange’s road trip to Colorado where Wheeler scored in front of his friends and family.
And, as Dylan told me, “All good things come to an end so senior night will be a nice ending. It’s been unforgettable.”
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