Focused On the Dream

Preface to Focused on the Dream

Dyllan Gill is one of the smartest two-way defenceman I’ve seen play in the last few years. 

Gill’s ability to read and react have scouts raving about his full potential.

Gill’s hockey sense is off the charts and there’s no doubt with a little more experience he could definitely be a very effective defender at the QMJHL level and beyond. 

Gill will have to continue to work on his skating, explosiveness, edge control and upper body strength to reach his full potential, but it’s clear that the young talented rear guard wants it badly.

During this time of year QMJHL Draft eligible prospects are being sent personality or character questionnaires ahead of the upcoming Draft in June. 

Obviously given our situation in person one on one meetings that usually happen during the Gatorade Challenge are being done by way of Zoom calls.

Every organization wants to get to know the player on a personal level.  

Months of studying, evaluating and projecting now give way to getting to know the person which in many ways I believe is the most important aspect of the scouting process.

As scouts we see the player all season long. We see how they handle the pressure on the ice, but it’s those scouts and organizations that go beyond the ice that have the greatest impact building a culture that cares about the person and player.

Those organizations are always the most successful. 

Dyllan Gill possesses the same maturity, poise and confidence off the ice as he does on it. 

There’s no question Dyllan Gill is focused and driven by his dream.

Focused on the Dream

Highly skilled, hard working, intelligent, focused, mature , poised, confident and trustworthy. 

All the intangibles it takes to be an exceptional defenceman, but more importantly a great teammate and person. 

Riverview’s Dyllan Gill is coming off an outstanding rookie campaign with the Moncton Midget AAA Flyers of the NB/PEI Major Midget League. 

The pressure surrounding a draft year can be crippling to any young players psyche and confidence.

The spectre of having scouts dissect ever aspect of a players game can become all consuming. 

That certainly wasn’t the case for Dyllan Gill. 

As the season progressed Gill not only understood that process he embraced it. 

“This season started off with a whole lot of nerves,” confessed Gill.

“I was a 15 year old going into a league with tons of highly skilled and older guys.”

“I feel as the season went on I settled in and my nervousness level went down and my confidence went up,” explained Gill.

“I was looking to make a play and not worried about making a mistake.”

Gill credits the Flyers coaching staff for providing him opportunities to flourish.

“With the great coaching staff we had and the constant opportunities I was offered, I found it easy to gain confidence.”

Confidence is everything when you’re under the microscope and in the pressure cooker of what some players deem the most stressful year of their lives. 

It becomes extremely difficult for young players to develop and grow under such pressure. 

Gill’s trust in the process and constant desire to improve was essential for his success this season. 

“During the season I really focused on my defensive side of the play and worked to try and win my battles for the puck and position.”

“I also worked hard on my passing, both the strength and accuracy.” 

“I feel my passing is one of the strongest aspects of my game. It allows me to get out of trouble and combined with my vision I can create plays with one solid pass.” 

Gill’s attention to detail in all three zones and strong two-way play will undoubtedly serve him well at the next level.

Comparisons and projections play a massive role in the scouting world. 

Young players often compare their style of play to their role models or hockey heroes. 

“I looked up to Adam McQuaid as a kid growing up loving the game,” Gill said.

“Adam was a hard working, honest, determined and rugged right shot defenceman. He was always there to stick up for his teammates and being a Maratime kid himself, he was often talked about.”

“Seeing how hard he worked to become an everyday NHLer was awesome as a kid,” stressed Gill. 

“I was fortunate enough to meet him on a couple of occasions through Maratime NHL’ers 4 Kids events and at a few games. Adam went out of his way to be kind to all of the kids and sat down with me and talked for a long while.”

Gill and Flyers were about to start the NB Provincial Final versus the Fredericton Caps when the season was cancelled due to the horrific COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gill finished the season with 7 goals and 13 assists in 39 regular season games with the Flyers.

Solid numbers, but one has to look beyond the numbers to understand Gill’s full potential.

There’s no question Gill possesses all the attributes to be a very effective two and half or even three zone defender if he continues to improve and work hard on certain facets of his game. 

Unfortunately with the season ending so abruptly, Gill has shifted his focus and attention equally on academics and athletics. 

From a hockey perspective he’s trying to get in the best shape of his life. 

“Since the season ended, my main focus has been to get stronger and put good weight on.”

“I am very fortunate to have such an organized training program that has provided us with a home training program through Peak Fitness App,” explained Gill.

“The program was developed to help us train properly up until the end of this pandemic and give us the basics to prepare for an intense summer of training.”

“Everyday I work out at least two hours, do cardio and work on shooting.”

“Combined with this has been the opportunity to eat healthy home made meals daily. The combination of both diet and training will help me to add muscle and strength in the offseason.”

What would it mean to be drafted in the QMJHL? 

“To get drafted into the QMJHL would be a dream come true.”

“Growing up going to watch the local QMJHL games since I was 5 years old and always imagining I may get the chance to play there, to actually get that chance would be an indescribable feeling.”

“It’s been my dream for a long time to one day play in the Q and to have that opportunity would be amazing.”

Where does Gill see himself fitting in at the QMJHL level? 

“I see myself hopefully getting drafted and showing up at camp with a chance at cracking the lineup,” said Gill.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the Q, Junior A, or Midget I will be pushing hard like this year to continue to improve on my abilities and confidence with the puck.”

“I feel I am ready to take the next step to play either at the QMJHL or Junior A level based on my vision and skills,  but understand that I will need to continue to get stronger in order to be effective.”

Gill is very optimism that he will be ready for the challenges at the next level. 

“After last summer’s training program with Rick Leger at Peak Fitness and being on the ice every week with Derek Cormier, I am confident that the same as the last few years, I will be more than ready for training camp.”

With all the team and individual success Gill has remained grounded and as focused as ever. 

All the sacrifices that his family have made certainly isn’t lost on highly skilled defender. 

“My parents have made plenty of sacrifices to get me to this point,” Gill said proudly.

“From getting up at 6am for IP2 weekend practices to picking me up after late bus trip arrivals in Midget, they have financially supported me with the equipment I needed, but always just being there and being so positive.”

“I wouldn’t be who I am as a person or a hockey player without their guidance and support.” 

“They have provided me everything necessary to succeed and I am forever thankful to them.”

The Gill household isn’t shy on competition. 

“My younger brothers and I are very competitive,” admitted Gill.

“We have a very strong relationship and are always very strong willed which pushes all of us to get better.”

“Even though they are younger than me they are always pushing really hard in everything we do and that also makes me want to get better every single day.”

“In times like this, although we argue like brothers do, we are very fortunate to have each other to train with and push each other.  As their older brother I take a lot of pride watching them play for teams that I played for and creating their own relationships with the coaches that I had.”

Gill believes he’s been a very good role model for his brother’s. 

“I have worked so hard to get to where I am and I think it helps them understand the effort and sacrifice they will have to make in order for them to get to their next level.”  

With an extra long off season to prepare Gill is eager to continue to improve and work on his developing his game in hopes of living out his dream of playing in the QMJHL next season and beyond. 

“The main aspect of my game I need to work on is my strength.”

“I think my skills are good enough to get me to the next level, but I feel I need to gain more muscle in order to be prepared to play against the bigger, stronger players in the Q.”

“I also feel my skating and explosiveness needs to improve to be able to keep up with the players at the next level as they will be skilled, shifty and fast.”

“I am doing a lot of foot work and when things get back to normal I will continue to skate with Jill Plandowski out of Halifax for additional stride and edge work,” explained Gill.

The QMJHL team that drafts Dyllan Gill will be selecting an exceptional player and person. 

A focused young man driven by a dream and willing to do anything to accomplish it.

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