On Nov. 5, before a Friday-night victory over Miami (Ohio), the Michigan hockey players invited their parents out to Ann Arbor for Parents Night. The red carpet was laid out, and the players led their parents onto the ice to introduce them to the Yost crowd. Among the parents introduced were Thomas and Judith Dunlap, parents of defenseman Adam Dunlap.
Dunlap isn’t a familiar face to the Michigan faithful, but he is hoping that will change. The junior transferred from Boston University this year with the goal of playing for the Wolverines next season. He is ineligible this year because of rules regarding his transfer, but he is practicing with the team to try to make an impression on the coaching staff.
“I want to try to impress the coaches so that they think I can play next year,” Dunlap said. “I want to give them some incentive to want to keep me around.”
Dunlap said having his parents come out to Yost was a real treat. He spent two years at Boston University and didn’t get much playing time. He didn’t play at all during his freshman year, and he played just five games during his sophomore season before leaving the team in January.
When he left the Terriers, he went to play for the Waterloo (Iowa) Black Hawks — a team in the United States Hockey League, which is a junior league for young Americans and Canadians. Dunlap tallied four assists in 24 games for the Black Hawks.
“He came to us as an unknown player,” Berenson said. “We asked him a lot of questions and actually tried to discourage him. Why would he want to come to Michigan? If he can’t play somewhere else, how would he expect to play at Michigan? But he really wanted to come here, he wanted to go to school at Michigan and he thinks he can play here.”
So far, Dunlap has impressed the coaches. Berenson said that Dunlap is a strong skater and a good puck-handler, but he added that he won’t know about Dunlap’s intangibles until he gets a look at Dunlap in a game situation.
“He’s trying hard to fit in to our system and our mentality here,” Berenson said. “We may not have seen his real strength. Or maybe we have, but until he gets into a game where he can really show us his gamesmanship and his game sense, his patience and his ice-awareness and all that stuff.”
Berenson added that Dunlap is a serious student. The LSA student is undeclared, but he’s taking a tough course load. So tough, in fact, that he had to drop Calculus to keep up. Berenson said that he overloaded his schedule in his first semester after transferring.
Dunlap said that the hardest part of the transition was not having any friends in Ann Arbor. Because he decided late that he was transferring to Michigan, all of the other players on the team had decided who they were living with and Dunlap was forced to live by himself.
“It’s obviously been a big change having to make new friends after spending two years somewhere else,” Dunlap said. “I think the guys have been great. They’ve been really helpful.”
For now, it’s all hard work for Dunlap. He knows that he has no chance of playing this year. And even next season is up in the air.
“I’m just trying to work my butt off to help the team be the best that they can — to be prepared every week for the opponent they are going to play,” Dunlap said.