They mean no disrespect. They are Mainers who appreciate their state and otherwise cheer for their university, but are loyal to the boy next door who plays hockey.
For Boston College.
Brian Dumoulin, the star defenseman, has a following of fans whose numbers seem to be growing.
“He hasn’t forgotten he’s from Biddeford,” said Deborah Dumoulin, his mom. “I think people respond to that. Everywhere I go, people of all ages come up to me to talk about Brian and Boston College.
“Some don’t know much about (college) hockey, but they’re so proud of him.”
He’s the local kid who’s done better than good. He was a freshman when Boston College won the national championship two years ago. He was named to the all-tournament team.
BC has won the Hockey East tournament all three years of his college career, most recently last Saturday, beating Maine.
He’s been singled out as Hockey East’s best defenseman twice. He’s a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the best player in college hockey.
And he’s still the same yes ma’am, no sir kid his neighbors remember. The one who waited on tables at Huot’s Seafood Restaurant in Camp Ellis. He gave the restaurant owners the Boston College sweater he wore in the 2010 Frozen Four, which they displayed on a restaurant wall.
The Carolina Hurricanes picked Dumoulin in the second round of the 2009 NHL draft and keep asking when he’s going to sign their contract.
He and his teammates are college hockey’s top-ranked team when the NCAA regional tournaments begin this weekend at four sites around the country. Boston College plays Air Force and Maine meets Minnesota-Duluth in Saturday’s semifinal games. Boston College is favored to win twice in Worcester and move on to the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.
For one young hockey player, can it get any better than this?
“I look around at so many other dads who have sons or daughters playing,” said Pete Dumoulin. “You know, all the people who watched the Zamboni roll around making ice for all those hours. I hope they can go through this.
“I’m living a lottery dream here. We just rolled the dice. I mean, Brian could have chosen Maine. There’s a Maine hockey stick with autographs over the door to his bedroom. I’ve got a closet full of Maine stuff I can’t wear.”
His son could have become a junior hockey gypsy, like many others who leave home and local high schools to play in another state. Instead, Dumoulin graduated from Biddeford High with many of the same classmates he met in kindergarten. He helped his high school teammates win a state championship. His roots have been tugged but not pulled out, and the neighbors recognize that.
“Sometimes I’m aware there are people from home in the crowd,” said Brian Dumoulin. “It’s cool how much Mainers pay attention. I’m very thankful for that. It puts pressure on me but it’s a good pressure.”
“He’s a pretty amazing kid,” said Peter Petit, who owns a Biddeford excavating business.
“The best part about him is he’s so good with younger kids.” Dumoulin’s dreams can become their dreams.
Petit has taken his family to BC’s Conte Forum for many of Dumoulin’s games. He’s watched as Dumoulin spends so much time with the Biddeford folk, he’s the last of his teammates to leave.
Petit expects to be on the road to Worcester this weekend. At different games he notices about 10 to 15 familiar faces from Biddeford near his seats. Last weekend about 50 fans left Biddeford for the conference tournament at TD Garden in Boston.
Pete Dumoulin, when he’s not walking off some nervous anxiety, sometimes sits with neighbors. When Boston College played Maine last Saturday night, he sat at times with parents of Maine players whose sons, like Matt Mangene, Adam Shemansky and Mike Cornell, were Dumoulin’s teammates on the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs.
His wife sits with the other Boston College parents. “I’m very superstitious,” she said. “I have to sit in my assigned seat.”
She graduated from the University of Maine, her husband graduated from Maine Maritime Academy. She teaches diabetics how to adjust their lives; he’s an engineer at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. They have an older son, John, and a younger daughter, Katherine.
Mom understands those Mainers who lament Brian’s decision to go to Boston rather than Orono. Her son is still representing the state, she says. He’s just wearing a different uniform.
Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: [email protected]