Silently strong: Senior defenseman Tim Knudson brings quiet leadership to Dickinson High
Being a good leader doesn’t always mean being vocal.
No player on the Dickinson High boys hockey team exemplifies that persona better than 6-foot-2 senior defenseman Tim Knudson.
“I don’t talk that much,” he said with a laugh. “I usually leave that to the other captains.”
The lack of chatter from Knudson doesn’t faze first-year head coach Dallas Kuntz.
“Timmy is probably one of the most respected players in the locker room because he leads by example,” he said. “He’s the type of guy that shows up for practice every day, shows up for dryland every day, he does what he’s asked and he does it with a smile on his face. He just goes to work every day. You don’t get a lot of complaining out of him. He’s a model student-athlete and young kids can look up to him in that aspect.
“He’s just a great kid.”
Though Knudson may not show his actions through words, the senior defenseman doesn’t come up short with players backing up his hard-work mentality during practice and games.
“The perfect way to explain Tim is that he leads by example,” Dickinson junior defenseman Tony Kostelecky said. “Tim says nothing, but having him there helps all of us. He gives us confidence in what we are doing and reassurance that we are doing things right.”
Sophomore defenseman Tate Martel, who is Knudson’s defensive linemate, said the senior might not talk all the time, but when he does, it’s important.
“When he does talk, it’s definitely something intelligent and helpful,” he said.
The main hope for Knudson’s time as a defenseman is to instill strong qualities from the upperclassmen to the underclassmen.
Martel said the information Knudson has passed down to him has been invaluable.
“He just gives me a lot of knowledge,” Martel said. “It’s nice to know I have him to back me up with all the stuff I do on and off the ice.”
Knudson, who has played at the varsity level since he was a sophomore, is enjoying his best season to date. The senior defenseman had five assists and one goal.
However, Knudson’s best statistic is staying away from the penalty box. In 15 games, Knudson has one two-minute penalty. In fact, throughout the 60 games Knudson has played at the varsity level, it’s his only penalty.
“When we get into crunch time and I look down the bench to see who I should put out there, Timmy is somebody that we can rely on at all times,” Kuntz said. “He doesn’t get penalties. He might not be on the stat sheet every day scoring a goal. Behind that, he’s probably our most important player. He logs the most ice time out of any skater and he’s a smart hockey player. He’s one player I never ever have to yell at on the bench. He’s always ready to go and I’m really proud of the way that he’s played this year.”
Not only is Knudson having a highlight senior season, the Midgets are winning games in the process. But this season has been up and down for Dickinson. The Midgets have the ability to compete with the best teams in the state, but have struggled following big wins.
Dickinson is 8-9 overall and 4-8 in the West Region. In Knudson’s sophomore season, the Midgets were 3-19 with a 0-16 region record. Last year, as a junior, Dickinson finished 8-15 overall and 5-11 in the West.
“We are competing against the harder teams in the state,” Knudson said. “We have on and off games definitely.”
Knudson and the four other seniors — Alex Turcotte, Dan Honcharenko, Cole Anderson and Brett Schweitzer — are preparing for their final two home games at Dickinson Recreation Center. The Midgets host a pair of West Region opponents in Bismarck High at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Jamestown at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“It is kind of sad not to be able to play here again,” Knudson said.