Meijer State Games of Michigan Athlete Spotlight:

TJ Dlugos, Ice Hockey

by: Kenneth DeGraaf

At 14 years old, TJ Dlugos has already been playing hockey for more than half his life. Make it 8 years, to be exact. His mom, a competitive figure skater, has been his biggest influence. After TJs mom graduated college, she began teaching skating classes in Chicago, Boston, and Grand Rapids. TJ often tagged along and started becoming quite the skater. Once TJ became a great skater, nothing was stopping him from becoming a hockey player.
Hockey has been apart of his family for a long time. TJs Grandfather, who grew up in Chicago, played hockey in the streets growing up. TJs Uncle currently competes in the ATC (Air Traffic Controller) Tournament, in addition to playing hockey in Bled, Slovenia. As if the familys hockey history doesnt go deep enough, TJs Aunt is a translator for the AHIHA Deaf Olympic Team. TJ also has a cousin who directs a skating rink in Chicago, and her husband played on the Deaf Olympic Team. According to TJ, I guess you can kind of say its in my blood.
Throughout TJs 8 years of playing hockey, he has achieved his fair share of individual accomplishments, including several hat tricks and playmaker awards. TJ has also been the highest scorer on many of his teams. For five years straight, TJ has been named a Scholastic Star. Despite the individual success, TJ believes the best success will always be measured by team accomplishments. The greatest accomplishments were with teams Ive played on, winning championships, district championships, and playing in the state playoffs, TJ explained. TJ also played internationally in Europe where his team went 4-2. In 2014, TJ won a gold medal competing in the State Games of Michigan Ice Hockey Tournament.
When asked about his secret to success, TJ outlined several points that every hockey player should consider if they want to be great. These points included practicing edge work and stick handling, thinking about where the puck will be ahead of time, and showing respect to everyone involved. TJ also stressed the importance of being a leader on and off the ice, training hard, and keeping a positive attitude in which you never give up.
Heading into the future, TJ hopes he can use these skills to play Division 1 Hockey at the University of Notre Dame. After college, TJ says his dreams would come true if he could play professionally in the NHL, along with representing his country in the Olympics, IIHF, World Championships, and World Juniors. Combine TJs knowledge of the game with a long list of achievements, and it is safe to say this young hockey star is well on his way.
Interested in Ice Hockey?
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The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event(s) that welcome athletes regardless of age or ability level. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living.
In August 2017, the Meijer State Games of Michigan will play host to the
2017 State Games of America.
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