MIDDLETOWN – The name ‘Dowd’ is synonymous with hockey in the Garden State.
And though the achievements of his father are revered – the state’s all-time leading scorer at the high school level with Brick Township and an 1995 Stanley Cup Champion with the New Jersey Devils – Jimmy Dowd Jr. has begun to carve out his own legacy on the ice, a journey that continues in 2017-18 with the New Jersey Titans of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
“When you see Jimmy out there competing you understand why he’s committed to play NCAA Division I hockey, and why he has garnered the attention he has…It’s not a fluke,” said New Jersey Titans second-year Head Coach Craig Doremus.
Doremus and the Titans selected the Point Pleasant Beach, NJ native with their fifth round draft pick this past June in the 2017 NAHL Draft, one year after Dowd Jr. was taken in Phase I of the United States Hockey League Draft by the Omaha Lancers, and nearly 11 months after he announced a verbal commitment to compete with Penn State University starting in the 2018-19 season.
“Jimmy is incredibly skilled, and he gets a lot of praise because of his ability to skate and move the puck. But it’s his ability to defend that impresses me, and is a very underrated aspect of his game,” Doremus said. “Positionally he’s sound. His anticipation is there. But he understands that he still has some work to do, and I believe staying home and playing at the NAHL level the right step for him in his development.”
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“He’s come here to learn and grow both mentally and physically, before he moves on to the USHL and eventually to the NCAA level…There’s going to be peaks and valleys for him this year, that’s all part of the process. But we expect big things from him.”
Dowd plays much bigger than his 5’7 frame, and as the second-youngest player on the Titans roster — a July, 2000 birthdate — he has displayed a level of comfort in NAHL competition that Doremus says sets him apart, and has allowed the 17-year old to skate in 12 of the organization’s first 17 games.
“We have a great group of guys here and I’m just trying to do my part to make this a special season for us,” Dowd Jr. said. “Having this rink and this organization so close to home, it was a no-brainer for me to start my junior hockey career here. This level of competition, it’s a big jump from midget hockey, but even as a young guy I know I have a big role to fill, and I’m just looking forward to seeing what’s ahead and what the rest of the year holds for us.”
A season ago Dowd competed as part of an accomplished North Jersey Avalanche club that won an AYHL Championship. The team also featured a young winger named Matt Cameron – a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute commit – who logged 44 points in 39 league games. The dynamic Avalanche duo are now reunited in the red and white of the Titans, and Dowd is excited to see what they can accomplish together.
“As young guys on this team we definitely feel that camaraderie and that urgency to go out there and prove ourselves each day to our coaches and to ourselves. We want to prove that we can play at this level,” Dowd said. “But we don’t want to just to compete, we want to contribute. And I’m looking forward to seeing what we can to do to help this team achieve its goals.”