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Moving up the ranks

By Walker Orenstein, MN Hockey Hub staff, 08/16/12, 7:56AM CDT


Q and A with St. Thomas Academy, Team Southeast junior defenseman Jack Dougherty

St. Thomas Academy's Jack Dougherty evades Derek Lodermeier of Totino-Grace in the 2012 Section 4A final. Photo by Adam Crane

When the title "Division I recruit" is affixed to someone’s name it’s only natural to delve a little farther.

Maybe do some research, check out his team. 

Logically, one might flip to his stats as well, to see where the players' name sits atop the leaderboards. If not in the state, then at least on his own team. 

Such investigation with St. Thomas Academy defenseman Jack Dougherty is bound to leave you puzzled.

One goal and nine assists?

As an understudy to Mr. Hockey candidate Eric Schurhamer last year, Dougherty, then a sophomore, didn’t have any time to worry about the offensive end, but he picked up plenty of pointers on defending. 

This summer, the waiting and learning approach paid off handsomely. Dougherty was nominated by his coaches to attend the Minnesota Hockey Reebok High Performance Boys 16 camps where he eventually snagged a spot on the United States U-17 team. That team went undefeated in the Five Nations Cup in early August. 

When all was said and done, Dougherty had notched a goal and three assists for Team USA, a successful completion of his impressive summer tour.

His impact on the ice might not light up the boxscore, but his skills as a defender are attributes that not many in Minnesota can match. With Schurhamer graduated, the smart money says Dougherty should begin to kick in some points as well.

With his recent achievements, Dougherty has received calls from Minnesota, Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha, RPI and Michigan Tech.

We caught up with Dougherty for an update on his time abroad and a sneak peak into his goals with St. Thomas Academy next year.

Jack Dougherty (2) of St.Thomas Academy collides with McQuaid Boo of Mahtomedi. Photo by Helen Nelson

Question: What was your favorite part of the U-17 tournament in the Czech Republic?
Answer: Just being with the team, winning the tournament, nothing compares to it. Putting on the USA jersey.

Q: How do you think you did in the tourney?
A: I was happy with the way I played, I just played my game.  Defensively, while trying to add a little offense.

Q: What was your reaction to being selected?
A: I was just overwhelmed. You don’t really expect to play for team USA when they can pick out of the entire nation. It’s an honor.

Q: Your entire summer has been a huge success. What has been the biggest highlight?
A: I would definitely say going to the Czech Republic. The team had a lot of fun and just winning the tournament was a great experience. 

Q: What do you think you’ve learned on the ice this summer?
A: Every time you step on the ice, don’t take it for granted. Always try to get better and work on stuff that you’re not the best at. 

Q: There were four other players from Minnesota high schools on the U-17 team with you, what does that say about Minnesota high school hockey?
A: It just shows that Minnesota hockey is as great as it’s hyped up to be. Nothing compares to it. All the AAA kids always want to know what it’s like, and I always tell them that nothing compares.

Q: Your first goal of the season and the first of your varsity career came in the state tournament against Little Falls. How much fun was that?
A: It’s a great place to score it. The seventh goal of the game, but it doesn’t take away the fact that you scored your first goal in the state tournament. 

Q: Was it worth the wait?
A: Absolutely.

Q: During the U-17 tournament you had three assists and a goal (in an exhibition game). Last season you had a goal and nine assists. Do you like to focus on being a passing defenseman?
A: Yeah, for sure. Try and just play my game, don’t get away from it but I’m hoping to add a little more offense to my game this year.

Q: How will you accomplish adding offense?
A: Just pick spots that are good for defenseman to jump up on the rush and join the play, not just sit back.

Q: What do you think your role on the team will be this year?
A: I’d say good defense and just turning around plays and moving the puck up to the forwards. Hopefully penalty killing. I like doing that, it’s one of my strengths.

Q: What was it like to play under former Mr. Hockey candidate Eric Schurhamer?
A: It was unforgettable. He taught me so much stuff that I don’t think anyone can do. It was great, he was like a second coach. 

Q: Do you think it’s your responsibility to fill his shoes?
A: Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, I’m not gonna' try and concentrate on doing that, I’m just going to try and play my game and hopefully it’ll have the same ending with winning the state championship.

Q: Would you consider anything less than winning a state championship a failure this season?
A: Yeah, playing at St. Thomas you have extremely high expectations. That’s what our coaches set as a goal immediately from the start of the year is to win the state tournament.

Q: If it were up to you, would you rather St. Thomas Academy play in Class A, or Class AA?
A: I guess I’m happy with where we’re at. It doesn’t really matter as long as we can keep winning games and play at the Xcel every year. 

Q: What is your reaction to receiving all this attention from big-time colleges?
A: I’m thrilled. I never thought that this would be happening to me. 

Q: What things do you look for in a potential college?
A: Just a school that would have my major and that I would fit in well with, and that I like. Visiting the campus if I liked it. 

Jack Dougherty File

School: St. Thomas Academy

Year: Junior

Position: Defenseman

Credentials: Only a junior, Dougherty has won a state championship with St. Thomas Academy and is gunning for another in the upcoming season. He also was nominated by his coaches to attend the Minnesota Hockey Reebok High Performance Boys 16 camps in the spring. From there, he played his way to the national USA Hockey's Boys' Select 16 Player Development Camp, where he earned a spot on the United States U-17 team. The U-17 team went on to win a gold medal in the Five Nations Cup.

College committment: Although he isn't committed yet, he has a laundry list of schools on speed dial. Teams include: Minnesota, Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha, Michigan Tech and RPI. He says he has no visits planned so far.

Rapid Fire with Jack Dougherty

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Favorite food you tried overseas during the U-17 tournament? Nutella

Have you ever 'candy caned' your stick? Yes I have. I have it on right now! I like it.

Go-to shootout move? Fake shot, see what the goalie does and just try and pick a goalie from there.

Favorite athlete who doesn't play hockey? Ooh this is tough. I’d say Josh Hamilton.

Top-cheddar or low? Top-shelf, of course.

Favorite summer Olympic sport? Table tennis.

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