Getting to know: Dax Lauwers
Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, the latest edition to the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze, Dax Lauwers is more than just a hockey player.
Developing a love for commercial fishing at an early age, Lauwers is the co-founder of Alaska Direct, a business working to change the way Alaskan wild salmon is distributed in the United States.
Commercial fishing has been in the Lauwers family for three generations. His father Calvin still fishes in Bristol Bay and he got his start fishing with his father, Keith, back in the 60's.
"I started fishing when I was 13," said Dax to Cyclones Hockey TV. "It's the type of work where the harder you work, the more money you are going to make. To me, that's fun. I like to be rewarded for working hard. There's a lot of similarity between commercial fishing and hockey. You get out what you put into it and that's what got me hooked."
On the ice, the 25-year-old entrepreneur has had an interesting career path thus far. Beginning with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL in 2009, the 6'1" defenceman in his senior year of high school recorded the highest plus/minus rating on a struggling Stars team over the 54 games played.
The following season, Lauwers headed to West Point, N.Y to attend school and play at the U.S. Military Academy. There he played 33 out of 35 games, despite being the youngest member of the Black Knights Army squad by a full two years.
In 2011, with the knowledge that at 20 years-of-age, he would be eligible to play one more season in the USHL, Lauwers returned to the Lincoln Stars hoping to attract the attention of a big-name college programme.
"What it came down to is I grew up playing hockey my whole life, and what I realised when I got to the Army is that hockey is too big a part of my life to not be able to see past that last year of college," said Lauwers to Brent Wagner of the Lincoln Journal Star (here).
"At Army, with what the Army is doing now overseas in the military, a lot of times a second lieutenant who graduates from West Point, it doesn't matter how good a hockey player he is, he has an obligation to the military (likely a five-year commitment following graduation, making a pro hockey career unlikely)", continued Lauwers. You understand that when you go there. If I had the opportunity to play after school, which I was hoping to do, I wanted to have the chance, so I chose to take the other route while I still could."
Named Captain ahead of his second USHL season (with 21 of 25 player votes), the American was able to play for a far more successful Stars side. Icing in 60 regular season and 8 playoff games, the youngster lead the team to the Western Conference Championship before Lincoln succumbed to defeat in the playoffs by Waterloo.
"He deserves the warrior award. Other teams know when he's out there for sure," said fellow co-captain Brent Tate of the hard-nosed blue-liner Lauwers (here).
His coach of the time, the late Chad Johnson continuing, "He is a heart-and-soul player. He's such a team guy. He's in every situation. We can't have him on the ice enough for the penalty kill. I look at the game against Waterloo, he lost his helmet in the corner and he was the first guy in front of the net laying down to block the shot. When he takes his jersey and shoulder pads off some nights he looks like a cheetah."
The year following, Lauwers got his big wish, being given opportunity at Northeastern University of the NCAA.
"I had an awesome visit and loved the rink, facilities, staff as well as the academic side of things," said Dax (here) on enrolling at the University. "Northeastern had everything I was looking for in a hockey programme and university."
With the Huskies, Lauwers was to play 139 times with 14 points and 156 penalty minutes. Named Captain and unsung hero in his senior year, he helped Northeastern to the Beanpot title game on three occasions.
After regaining full fitness, the Alaskan returned home signing with the Aces where he was to ice 62 times this past season registering 12 points and 142 penalty-minutes.
Sadly, in February it was announced that the three-time Kelly Cup Champion Alaska Aces would fold due to financial reasons.
Now at 25-years-old, Lauwers makes the move to Europe for the first time with the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze in the British Elite League.
So what should Blaze fans expect?
"My equivalent to scoring a goal is blocking a big shot," Dax said (here). "That's my style of game."
"I hate to lose and that's something I take into every practice, every drill, every game. Hating to lose is almost more important than wanting to win."
See Dax Lauwers hit the ice with the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze late August as pre-season gets underway.
Season tickets for the 2017/18 Elite League season are available now. Full information can be found, here.