Barrie Colts defenceman sheds several pounds with new nutrition, workout plan
Barrie Colts defenceman Jake Dotchin gets his stick up on Sarnia Sting forward Nick Latta in this file photo. The big defenceman came into this season as a better-conditioned athlete following a summer nutrition and workout plan. QMI AGENCY FILES
Barrie Colts defenceman Jake Dotchin took the advice to heart.
“I realized at the end of (last) year, and I talked to (Colts head coach Dale Hawerchuk) a lot, that I needed to lose some weight,” recalled the rugged blue-liner, who was acquired from the Owen Sound Attack at last season’s OHL trade deadline.
Having completed a long playoff run that took the Colts to the OHL finals and into mid-May, Dotchin moved to Ottawa for the summer to train under Lorne Goldenberg at the Athletic Conditioning Centre.
Goldenberg has worked with CFL players, but more importantly spent 20 years working with NHL clubs such as the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators.
“He made a nutrition plan and gave me a pretty strict work-out schedule,” Dotchin said. “I stuck to it pretty well and it worked out good for me.”
Did it ever.
The veteran Barrie blue-liner lost 25 pounds and says he’s never felt better.
“There were times when I thought I was in good shape, but once I got into this shape and felt as good as I felt out on the ice and just overall, it felt way better,” said the six-foot-three, stay-at-home defender who now weighs in at a well-conditioned 207 pounds.
“It’s something I want to keep for the rest of my life.”
Dotchin knew the Colts wanted him to play a bigger role on the point this year, but to do that his conditioning had to improve.
That was the extra push he needed.
“That’s not to say it just hit me, but it sparked a couple of pushes from my parents and Dale at the end of last season,” said the 19-year-old, who was a sixth-round pick (161st overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
“I bought in and it was definitely worth it," he added.
The Colts were certainly impressed with the effort and commitment Dotchin made over the off-season to improve his conditioning.
“You can tell he worked hard this summer,” assistant coach Todd Miller said. “He had a bit of a slow start, he was trying to do too much. Now he’s kind of finding his game on being that big, stay-at-home defenceman that does the simple things.
“That’s where he gets his offence from. It buys him time to get that big shot away," Miller added. "The last four or five games he’s figured it out and he’s being the ‘D’ we need. That big strong guy that crashes and bangs in the corners and gets the job done.”
Attending preseason camp with the Lightning this season also provided another boost for Dotchin, whose stall in the dressing room was right between Lightning stars Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
The defenceman also made sure to listen to what the that Lightning told him at camp and that was to make sure, first and foremost, to take care of his own end of the ice. Which his why his focus is on posting a good plus/minus rating, and not goals or points.
“Dale and I talked about that and I talked about it with Tampa, too, and that’s what they’re kind of looking for out of me. So, that’s what I bring,” said the native of Glen Morris, which is located in the Brantford area. “I brought it last year and I’m going to work on it a lot harder this year.”
That Dotchin has listened and put it in the time and effort to improve his fitness level and his game, speaks to volumes of his character, Miller says.
Tampa is really following him and stays on top of him quite a bit.
“He’s taking it and running with it,” Miller said. “(Lightning general manager) Steve Yzerman is even calling about him, checking in on him and making sure he needs to do what he needs to do.”
Improved conditioning has not helped Dotchin play more of the physical role he relishes. Miller points out how he lays the body once or twice and suddenly opposing forwards are thinking twice about dumping the puck into his corner.
“With Dotch last year being a little slower, they would tend to go his side because they could outwork him down low and beat him to the net,” Miller said. “Not this year, He’s figuring it out and we’re really happy with the way he’s coming.”
DOTCHIN BACK IN OWEN SOUND
It’s almost been a year since the trade, but Jake Dotchin admits it’s still special every time he returns to Owen Sound.
“Yeah, I loved it in Owen Sound,” said the blue-liner who, along with his teammates, will face the Attack on Wednesday night at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
“I didn’t get the ice time I wanted there, but it was a great city and a good organization," he added.
Dotchin and the Colts will get a boost to their lineup against the Attack with the return to health of top-scorer Zach Hall and sophomore blue-liner C.J. Garcia.
Hall missed almost three weeks battling a strain of mononucleosis, while Garcia, who hasn’t played in October, was out with an undisclosed injury.
In their only other meeting this season, in Barrie in late September, the Colts beat the Attack, 7-5, and Dotchin believes Owen Sound will face a much-improved team on the defensive side of the game this time.
“A win is a win, but we looked at it as a defensive team and it wasn’t something we like to see,” he said of the wide open game. “We buckled down in practice and got our noses down to the grindstone and we got going.”
Game time is 7 p.m.