Hockey player from Belgium turning heads already

JoeMcWilliams
Lakeside Leader

His team mates have nicknamed him ‘Waffles,’ but his name is Loïc Dury. And he just might be the best thing the Slave Lake Icedogs have going for them this season.

Dury certainly lit it up in the team’s first two games, scoring a dozen points (he thinks it might actually have been 13). The Belgian forward tells The Leader he plans to keep doing exactly that.

“It’s my last year of Junior,” he says. “I want to play pro hockey. I need to make points.”

Scoring a lot will help his chances, he figures; it will also help the Icedogs, so head coach Gregg Kennedy is happy with it. Notwithstanding Dury’s need to figure out some things about playing when he doesn’t have the puck on his stick. It appears he knows what to do with it when he does, if that three goals and six assists in one game on Oct. 2 is any indication.

“I just play my best,” he says.

When it comes to countries that produce hockey players, nobody thinks of Belgium. Dury himself didn’t get on ice skates until the age of 16, which makes his current status all the more notable. But he did have knowledge of the game before that.

“I played roller hockey,” he says.

Still, lacing up the blades for the first time at 16 is unusual in the sport. He agrees, and says in Belgium, you only get anywhere in hockey if you are very serious about it. He is.

“Hockey is my only focus,” he says.

Dury played two years for a club in the town of Leuven, which, like his home town of Lasne, is in the region of Brussels. He played there two years and followed that up with another two-year stint with a semi-pro club in Charleroi. In the fall of 2019, he was recruited to play in the GMHL in Ontario, for the South Muskoka Shield. The 2020/21 season was a bust due to COVID, so he returned to Belgium and played for a team in Antwerp.

Dury says things are going just fine in Slave Lake so far.

“I have a nice billet (the Stephenson family) and nice teammates.” Having a teammate (Austin Gaspar) who speaks a bit of French helps, Dury adds.

His English is pretty good, though, for someone who arrived in Canada two years ago not speaking a word of it.

Dury is hoping a successful final season of Junior hockey will help him land a job with a pro team somewhere in Europe.

“Not in Belgium,” he says. “I want to see other countries, other cultures.”

That’s what he’s seeing now, and he’s not the only Icedog who’s a long way from home. He says he has a teammate who lives so far up north he never sees the sun during the winter time.

Loïc Dury

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