Our Selects program has proved to be one of the most successful avenues for young hockey players to improve their skills, compete at the highest level and further their playing careers while offering world-class experiences to the athletes and their families. Countless Selects alumni have gone on to accomplish great feats both on and off the ice, and with our new Selects Spotlight, we look to promote those players and their success stories.
Dane Westen’s curiosity is what got him into hockey.
“I wanna play that,” he said peering over the boards at four-years-old.
But nobody in the Westen family really had any experience with the sport, so the entire process was foreign to both Dane and his parents. It was a crash course in cold ice arenas, long car rides, smelly equipment and endless memories.
“No one in my family has ever played,” Westen said. “So my hockey influences are coaches. Greg Vanover has been my biggest supporter and influence in hockey as he pushed me, demands more and teaches me what it will take to play at a higher level.”
Playing for the ‘03 West Coast Selects-Grey at this year’s World Selects Invitational in Philadelphia, Westen helped anchor the team’s defensive efforts while providing some offense as well. The Colorado native led all WCS-Grey defensemen in scoring with two assists in six tournament games as the team posted a 3-1-1 record in pool play, picking up a point in the final game to advance them into the playoffs.
“Our team scored the tying goal to force overtime against Russia as the buzzer sounded,” Westen said. “It was a controversial goal that led to much drama and the opportunity for our team to advance in the playoffs.”
In the first round, WCS-Grey was eliminated 4-3 by eventual tournament champion East Coast Selects-O but the 6-foot-1, 165-pound defenseman now shifts his focus on to other goals both on and off the ice. Skating with the U-16 Rocky Mountain Roughriders this winter, Westen inches closer to the process of picking a school to further his academics and potentially his hockey pursuits as well.
“Division-I college to play hockey and get a higher degree,” he said. “I will continue to work hard and develop in hopes that someday I can play in the NHL.”
Want to be in the spotlight? Find out more about our teams, camps and academy by joining our Selects program HERE! Already played in our Selects program and want to share your story? Tell us about your experience!