Q & A with Dustin Hughes: Head Coach of the Selkirk Steelers

Q: Biggest influence in your hockey career?

A: My parents. They taught me how to play and think the game and instilled a strong work ethic in me, all of which propelled me into higher levels of hockey. They have also provided a ton of support throughout my career.

Q: Most memorable game/moment in your coaching career?

A: I’ve only been a head coach for a short time so probably my first MJHL game as head coach.

Q: You used to play for the Steelers. Describe the feeling when you were named head coach.

A: It was an exciting moment in my coaching career as I take a lot of pride in being a Steelers alumni. It was a great experience playing for the Steelers and I want to be able to provide that same experience for our current and future players.

Q: You’re considered a young coach: under 40. How much of an advantage is this when dealing with today’s players?

A: I’m not sure if it is an advantage. I think all coaches bring their own unique personalities and philosophies to their teams regardless of age. I certainly can relate to what the players are going through on a day to day basis with the grind of a junior hockey season. However, I’m sure most coaches at this level have a pretty good grasp of this.

Q: Favourite NHL player?

A: Sidney Crosby – He is the ultimate hockey player. He can beat you on the rush, down low and on the power play. He works tirelessly at improving his game and does so many little things on top of being the best offensive player in the game. He dominates the game in so many ways both offensively and defensively. I also have a huge amount of respect for the way he conducts himself as a leader both on and off the ice.

Q: Favourite NHL team?

A: Pittsburgh Penguins- not just because they’ve won recently. I was a big Mario Lemieux fan growing up and have been a Pens fan ever since.

Q: Favourite songs on your IPod?

A: Too many good songs to narrow it down. U2, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and CCR are some of my favourites.

Q: You played professional hockey. Where?

A: I played in the German Oberliga for the Passau Blackhawks.

Q: Favourite memories from your pro career? Championships?

A: I don’t know if I can call it a career, haha. However, I really enjoyed my time over-seas and am thankful for the opportunity to have had such a great experience. Learning the game from a different perspective was very interesting and the fans sure liked to have a good time which made the games a lot of fun.

Q: Describe your coaching style?

A: I consider myself a teacher first and foremost. In saying that, different people learn and get motivated in different ways. The types of personalities and the situation that presents itself sometimes calls for different styles to prevail. However, I am a firm believer in being a straight shooter and having honest discussions with my teams and players.

Q: Junior players better now than when you played?

A: About the same.

Q: Favourite meal?

A:  This is a tough one! It would have to be either Sushi or a steak dinner.

Q: Favourite actor?

A: Matt Damon

Q: Favourite actress?

A: Scarlett Johansson

Q: Who would play you in the “Dustin Hughes” movie?

A: Matt Damon

Q: Other than Selkirk, loudest fans in the MJHL?

A: Steinbach

Q: Hockey Icon Don Cherry: love him? Don’t like him?

A: Indifferent. Definitely entertaining though.

Q: Go anywhere exciting for summer vacation?

A: My family and I went to a few places including Clear Lake, Grand Beach, Hecla Island, and Lake of the Woods. My kids are 4 and 7 years old so they are getting to the age where we can do some pretty fun things as a family. It was a great summer.

Q: Orr – Howe – Lemieux – Crosby. Who’s the best?

A: Can’t go wrong with any of them. Orr in my opinion is the best to answer the question. He absolutely dominated his era and changed the game immensely.

Q: If you could coach one NHL player, who would it be?

A: Current: Sidney Crosby     Past: Martin St. Louis

Q: Other than hockey, favourite sports?

A: Golf, Basketball, Lacrosse, Football, Tennis, Badminton, Baseball.

I played many different sports growing up and still love to get out and play them when I can.

Q: Tell us one thing fans wouldn’t know about you?

A:  I enjoy staying up to date with global affairs and in addition to running a High School Hockey Skills Academy during the day, I teach a grade 12 Global Issues course as well.

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone (past or present), who would you choose?

A: My Papa Cliff (grandfather). I never got the chance to meet him.

Q: Two words to describe Dustin Hughes?

A: Competitive and committed

Q: You attended University of Manitoba. Can you share a memory/highlight from your Bison days?

A: There were a few of them. First, we went to Nationals during my first year and although I didn’t play due to a torn ACL in my knee it was a great experience for our team. Second, that same year we got to play the ’05 Team Canada World Junior Team that won gold in Grand Forks. That was a great experience. Lastly, coming back from an injury (ACL) that took 7 months of recovery and becoming an important contributor of the team was something I worked very hard for and look back on with pride.