Heading into a season in which the Chilliwack Chiefs intend to compete for a BCHL title, the team will lean on a player with championship pedigree. Elliot Dutil is joining the club this season after winning an RBC Cup last season. Dutil hoisted Canada’s national junior A championship trophy with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits.
“I took a lot of things away from that experience, having guys who’ve been around for a long time teaching me new stuff,” he said. “Coaches who are always on you, making sure you’re coming in every day to learn and get better. It showed me that with hard work and trying your best, there’s always something waiting at the end. That championship is something I’ll never forget and I can’t wait to get my ring.”
Dutil is going to try to pass along the lessons he learned to his young Chiefs teammates, and let them know that all the ‘little things,’ the details of the game that the coaches try to drill into their heads are there for a reason.
“If we get a chance to win a championship, the things we do all year will show up then,” Dutil said. “And it’s beneficial for the next level after.”
The 20-year-old forward has steadily been moving west through his junior hockey years. The Montreal native started in his home province of Quebec, then moved to Saskatchewan to play for the storied Notre Dame Hounds in 2021-22. He jumped from Saskatchewan to Alberta last season, and now he’s reached the left coast.
“I wanted to try something new and I heard it (BCHL) is the best league around, so I wanted to see what I can do in this league and prove myself to a lot of people,” Dutil said.
Dutil’s numbers at his previous stops have been solid. With the Hounds he collected 39 goals and 70 points in 63 regular season and playoff games. With the Bandits he produced 29 goals and 59 points in 64 games. Numbers sometimes don’t translate to the BCHL, but Dutil is determined to keep filling the net at his usual pace.
He comes to Chilliwack with a very good shot and good offensive vision. He believes those skills will carry over.
“But I have to prove I can keep doing the things I did in the other leagues and prove the type of player I am,” he said. “So far the BCHL is fast paced, maybe a little faster than the AJHL, with skilled players. A lot of them have good moves and it’s fun to play with good players.
“I came to this league to prove that I can do what I do at this level.”
Off the ice, Dutil is enjoying his new community. It’s bigger than he expected and his billet family has given him the full tourist experience.
“People here are awesome and the community is really good at supporting us,” he said.
Dutil came to Chilliwack with an NCAA commitment in hand.
He’ll join the Lindenwood University Lions next season, a Missouri-based school that has dominated for years at the Div 2 level and made the jump to Div 1 last year. The Lions are coached by ex-National Hockey League defenceman Rick Zombo.
As far as Dutil’s to-do checklist this season?
“I want to show I can score a couple more goals from last year and prove that I can be faster than most of the people in this league,” he said. “I can play up and down the lineup. I wasn’t a first or second liner in Brooks, and that showed me that whatever role I have in the lineup, I will play it as hard as I can.”