Growing up in San Francisco, Dylan Malmquist knew hockey only as the sport his father watched on television, the one in which players such as Pavel Bure and Jaromir Jagr wore weird jersey numbers.
He didn’t see 96 or 68 on the backs of baseball players with whom he shared the diamond. And playing on ice? Hard to imagine for a 5-year-old living about a five-minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge.
But there was something about all of it, Malmquist said, that just “looked cool.”
When his family moved to Edina about a year later, Malmquist met several hockey-crazed neighbor kids. Tired of being left behind all winter, he decided to join them at the rink.
His father, Derek, played at Blake and Harvard. Uncle Jay won a state championship with Edina. But hockey did not come naturally for the transplant.
“In mites, instead of stopping I would just go full speed and slide and take out a bunch of kids,” Malmquist said. “They started figuring it out, so they would move and I’d slide into the boards.”
Malmquist learned to stop. But in the years since, opponents have struggled to slow him.
The 5-10, 174-pound forward entered this season a three-year varsity standout with two state championships. As a senior this winter, Malmquist became Edina’s all-time leader in career points (213 and counting) and led the Hornets to a 24-1-2 record and their ninth consecutive state tournament.
For his considerable efforts, Malmquist earned Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year honors.
Scoring prowess is only part of what makes Malmquist special. He plays the entire ice and shines on the penalty kill as well as the power play. He also stands out in practice.
“It would have been easy for him to say, ‘I’m going to work at my own pace,’ but that’s not his way,” Edina coach Curt Giles said. “He’s always at the front of the line, pushing himself. He always plays with speed, intensity and purpose.”
To that mix, the team captain added a critical element this season: calm.
“Almost every game, if I miss an opportunity or make a bad play, I’ll think in my head that I want to scream or hit something,” said Malmquist, who signed to play at Notre Dame. “But this year, one of my main focuses has been staying calm, knowing I’ll get another chance.”
When Malmquist decided to buck the trend of elite players leaving high school early, he went to Giles and the coaching staff seeking to be pushed. Not just physically but mentally.
“They’ve told me that if I keep my cool, everyone will follow,” Malmquist said.
“He’s gotten a lot better at controlling his emotions,” senior defenseman Paul Meyer said. “In tight situations he takes a deep breath and makes the right plays. He brings a lot of confidence, a lot of leadership. We trust him with whatever decisions he makes.”