Brothers on and off the ice
Potila brothers stay active in club hockey at Northern Michigan University
MARQUETTE – From playing hockey in their driveway to playing in front of big crowds in college arenas, Dean and Dione Potila of Standish said hockey was something that they could do together from a young age.
“I started playing hockey when I was in kindergarten at the age of five,” Dean said.
Dean, who is now 21, said he got into hockey after walking home and telling his parents that he wanted to play and has been on the ice ever since.
Dione, who is now 18, also started playing at five and said he started playing hockey because of his brother.
“Not only was hockey something that we could do together, but I believe it has brought us closer together,” Dean said. “It made us better as players, pushing each other and telling each other what they did or telling each other how to make something better.”
“We would play hockey out in the driveway and practice when we had nothing else to do,” Dione said.
Dean said he chose to play hockey because it was fun, physical and different from all other sports in the area.
“I didn’t enjoy playing other sports, because they were too easy,” Dione said. “Hockey is the best sport in the world.”
Dione said there is no difference having his brother on the team, compared to other teams he has been on.
“Playing on the same team as my brother is fun,” Dean said. “We have a brotherly bond and tend to know where each other are on the ice.”
Dean started playing hockey in Bay City. After a couple years of travel hockey, he went to play in Flint.
“After Flint, I ended back up in Bay City to play junior hockey,” Dean said. “And now I’m in Marquette playing club hockey for Northern Michigan University.”
For Dione, he started playing in Bay City, moved to Flint, and now plays club hockey for NMU.
Dean said one of his favorite memories of playing hockey was playing against Michigan State University in the Regional tournament.
“It was one of the best hockey games I have ever played in,” Dean said.
For Dione, his best memory was when he won the state championship with the Flint Phantoms in 2013.
According to Dean, his inspirations growing up and now are his family and friends.
“They have pushed me through and got me to where I am now,” Dean said.
Dione feels the same, saying his family is one of his biggest inspirations.
Although, future plans do not include going pro, Dean and Dione plan to use the skills they learned on the ice in the real world.
“I plan on just playing college hockey and after college I plan on getting a good job,” Dean said. “I plan on using the work ethic and teamwork skills from playing hockey to help me in the future with jobs.”
“After college I plan on playing in a men’s league and coaching my future children,” Dione said.
According to both Dean and Dione, they have stuck with hockey for so long because it is the best sport to play.
“Playing hockey has something about it that makes you keep coming back for more,” Dean said.
Dean is a junior at Northern Michigan University majoring in mechanical engineering technology and Dione is a freshman majoring in computer science.