RED DEER – This month’s Alumni Spotlight focuses on Dustin Moore, formerly of the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs.
A born-and-raised Red Deerian, Dustin’s hockey journey began when he was just five years old. He credits his dad’s love of hockey, and the fact that all his friends were playing, as the reasons he decided to first put on a pair of skates.
A product of the Red Deer Minor Hockey system, Dustin played in the U18 AAA division of the Alberta Elite Hockey League (formerly known as the Alberta Midget Hockey League) with the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs in the 2003-04 season, which culminated in a Provincials title, and a third-place finish at the Telus Cup. He also was named the league’s Top Defensive Forward that season.
“My experience growing up playing minor hockey in Alberta really set me up for success at a higher level,” said Dustin. “It taught me how to be competitive, how to be part of a team, and how to be a leader.”
Dustin spent the next two seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Olds Grizzlys, before playing his 20 year-old season with his hometown Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League, which he said remains one of his fondest hockey memories.
Following his Junior hockey career, Dustin attended the University of Lethbridge, suiting up for the Pronghorns for five seasons, serving as team captain for his final three. He was named to the CIS West (now USports Canada West) First All-Star Team in 2010, and the Second All-Star Team in 2012.
After graduating from University, Dustin continued to play competitive hockey, playing Senior AAA hockey with the Bentley Generals, with whom he won an Allan Cup in 2013. He also played Senior AA hockey with the Big Valley Oil Kings and Red Deer Senior Rustlers, the latter of which he was instrumental in creating.
Looking back, Dustin says his mom and dad were easily the biggest influences on his hockey career.
“Being a new Dad myself, I’ve really come to appreciate all the early mornings and driving they did to allow me to play hockey,” he said. “My grandpa Ed was also a huge influence on me. He came to every one of my games, and would usually spend the rest of his time watching minor hockey and the Red Deer Rebels. His love for the game was infectious.”
Dustin has also turned his love for the game into a career. He is currently the Coordinator of Male Hockey with Hockey Alberta, which includes helping to run the AEHL, the Prospects Cup, and Alberta Cup.
His advice to young athletes is to just to have fun and enjoy making new friends while playing a competitive sport – the friendships will last much longer than the sport will.
“Hockey has given me a lot,” said Dustin. “A free post secondary education, lifelong friends, a chance to play pro hockey, and the list goes on… not to mention a career in the game!”
You can catch Dustin on Episode Three of Centre Ice – The Hockey Alberta Podcast, which will be released on Thursday, November 5.