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Published June 22 2012

Force forward Dickman eyes Day 2 of NHL draft

FARGO – What an experience this could be.

Fargo Force junior hockey player Jay Dickman knows there is no guarantee that he will be taken during today’s second day of the NHL Draft.

Dickman, a forward, also knows there’s a chance it could happen. That’s why Dickman and his family are in Pittsburgh for the draft.

“Throughout all my years, I never have thought about getting picked up or not,” Dickman said by phone on Friday from Pittsburgh. “If you get picked or not, you still have something to prove.”

At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Dickman has the physical mold most NHL teams seek. Before coming to the Force, Dickman played his senior year of high school at St. Paul Johnson scoring 42 goals – the most of any Class 2A player in Minnesota.

His 42 goals were produced from a blend of Dickman’s hard shot along with a wrister, which might be the strongest aspect of his game. NHL scouts and draft experts have identified him as a “dark horse” for this draft.

What makes Dickman a bit of a risk is his speed.

“I hear from everyone that Dickman can’t skate, blah, blah, blah,” Dickman said. “It is another step and is another thing I have to prove to people.”

If there is belief Dickman could get drafted, it lies in his family, notably in his older brother, Andy.

Andy Dickman returned home last April following a 1½-year deployment in Iraq. He wanted to do something special for his little brother, whose birthday was earlier in June. So he bought him a plane ticket to Pittsburgh.

“It’s really nice to have him here, especially if I get picked up, because he’ll be here making jokes,” Dickman said. “Even if I don’t get picked up, he’ll be here making jokes. He’ll enjoy Pittsburgh and make being here fun and not boring.”

Going back to 2009, the Force have had at least one player taken in the NHL Draft.

Today, in addition to Dickman, seven more Force players have the potential to get drafted. They are:

E Brian Cooper, defenseman: Cooper just finished his third year with the team and will play next season at Nebraska-Omaha. Scouts and draft experts have said Cooper could go in the third round.

E Austin Farley, forward: A foot injury stopped Farley from shattering every scoring record in franchise history. He’ll be playing next season at Minnesota-Duluth.

E Alex Iafallo, forward: Iafallo, a Buffalo native, enjoyed a successful rookie campaign with the Force and was invited to Buffalo’s camp a few weeks back.

E Justin Wade, defenseman: The Notre Dame commit was used as the Force’s primary shutdown defenseman.

E Dominic Toninato, forward: The godson of Brett Hull played the last two weeks of the season with the Force and will be with the team all of next season.

E Nate Arentz, forward: A two-way forward who showed progress from his first year in the league. He’ll return to the team next season.

E Neal Goff, defenseman: Goff endured a rocky first season to become one of the team’s most consistent playoff performers.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com