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Petrie carves own path en route to Harvard commitment

 

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Dominique Petrie always has a plan – the 2001 birth year is nothing, if not highly focused.

Play for team Team USA with her age group? Check.

Play youth hockey with boys through her Midget 16U season? Check.

Commit to an Ivy League university and continue her hockey career? Check.

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A Los Angeles native, Petrie hit the third item at the end of October when she committed to Harvard University. The San Diego Jr. Gulls forward will enroll next fall at 17. Being one of the youngest students – if not the youngest – in her grade is nothing new. She has been a year ahead in school since third grade.

The college choice caps a dynamic year for Petrie. In January, she helped Team USA win its third consecutive gold medal at the Women’s Under-18 World Championships in the Czech Republic.

In August, she helped Team USA take two of three games from Canada at Lake Placid, N.Y., in the Under-18 Select Series.

“It’s been an exciting year,” she said. “I was very tedious in my college selection process, and there were a handful of other schools that were in the mix, but I decided going to an Ivy League school was something I really wanted.

“After my parents and I visited Harvard, I realized it was everything I was looking for – the campus, the coaches, the community. And Boston is one of my favorite cities. It’s like a mini-L.A., just not as hectic. The combination of hockey and academics and location was what I was looking for.”

Her work ethic and skill set haven’t gone unnoticed.

“She is really, really, really unique,” said Noah Babin, who along with Jay Hebert, coaches Petrie. “From a hockey perspective, she’s outrageously good. She thinks the game as well as anyone I’ve seen at this age, and she pushes herself non-stop to get better.”

Fitting into an established AAA team would be difficult for anyone, much less a girl. Yet Babin said it has been a non-issue.

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“She fits in unbelievably well,” he said. “There hasn’t been any awkwardness, and that’s a testament to her and the kids on this team. She just rolls with things. It’s impressive.”

Of course, that’s not breaking news.

The 5-foot-7 Petrie was a longtime member of the 2001 Jr. Ducks birth year team coached by Craig Johnson and Scott Niedermayer.

“Dominique always has been a huge part of our teams,” Johnson said. “She could produce offensively and compete defensively.

“She spent a lot of time working on her game and going to the weight room. She always had a great attitude and was liked and respected by her teammates.”

Petrie is relishing this season with the Jr. Gulls as much as she did her time with the Jr. Ducks.

“Everyone in San Diego has been unbelievable,” she said. “This has been a very fun year of youth hockey. It’s a very close-knit team, so I wasn’t sure what I’d be getting into, but I’ve formed many friendships and developed my game further.”

She was quick to credit her years with the Jr. Ducks for helping her get to the position she’s in.

“I’ve had many fun years and multiple great coaches with the Jr. Ducks,” Petrie said. “One of my 15U coaches, Mike Bickley, stood out to me. He has really believed in me and took a lot of time working with me on my skill development.

“He has a tremendous passion for helping young players, as do Darryl, Craig and Scott. There are so many coaches who’ve helped me.”

But all the coaching the in world won’t matter without a strong work ethic.

“She had high goals and went about working toward them every day,” Johnson said. “It’s great to see all that work pay off for her.”

One only needs to take a look at Petrie’s personal checklist to confirm that.

** UPDATE (Dec. 1, 2017): Petrie today was named to the Under-18 Women’s National Team that will compete at the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship, set for Jan. 6-13 in Dmitrov, Russia.

— Chris Bayee

(Nov. 24, 2017)