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Former Jr. Gulls Defenseman Brendan Dunphy Commits to UConn

By Chris Bayee, 11/02/23, 4:15PM PDT


Former Jr. Gulls defenseman Brendan Dunphy, a UConn commit, is playing for Langley of the British Columbia Hockey League this season. Photo courtesy of the Langley Rivermen

Brendan Dunphy wanted the best of both worlds — strong academics and high-level hockey — when he was considering his college options. 

The former San Diego Jr. Gulls defenseman found that when he committed earlier this fall to the University of Connecticut. 

"I've always gotten good grades, but some of the better hockey schools tend to not take academics as seriously. UConn has a good balance," said Dunphy, a 2006 birth year. "They're a top-20 program in hockey, but they're a pretty respected university."

Jr. Gulls Prepared Him Well

Dunphy is playing mainly on the third pair this season for Langley of the British Columbia Hockey League. He said his time with the Jr. Gulls and later the Jr. Ducks prepared him well for what he's faced at the U20 level. 

"I'm still getting used to the level," he said. "I'm keeping it simple, trying to make smart plays."

The Jr. Gulls were Dunphy's hockey launching point. He looks back fondly at his five seasons with the club where he played through 14U AA. 

"Randy Moy was my first coach, and he was the first coach who thought I could play college hockey," Dunphy said. "He saw something in me and pushed me to get better. He was one of my favorites.

"I also played for Pierre Dufour, and he helped different parts of my game. Then I played for Craig Carlyle, another great guy. Our team was a lot of fun because he always had a positive attitude for us."

Confidence begat next steps

Beyond his hockey development, Dunphy also gained confidence that he could progress in the sport. But it took an unfortunate turn that many in the Jr. Gulls family are all too familiar with to realize that.

"I was a good AA player but I never knew I could play higher. The (Escondido) rink closing made me look elsewhere to play AAA."

For the past two seasons, that was with the Jr. Ducks' 16U AAA team. 

"I owe them a lot, too. My coach, Alex Kim, helped prepare me for junior hockey," Dunphy said. "I learned things from him and from my Jr. Gulls coaches guys on my junior team are just now learning."

Dunphy Has All-Around Skill Set

Dunphy, who is 6-foot-6 and weighs more than 200 pounds, casts an imposing figure on the ice. It's not hard to envision him being a shutdown defenseman. However, there's more to him than that, says former teammate Colin Frank, who also committed to UConn.

"For a big guy, he's a great skater," Frank said. "He has great vision and makes excellent breakout passes. He's a good stickhandler and has a quick shot."

Indeed, Dunphy racked up 58 points (22 goals) in 85 games during his final season in California. He had three points through Langley's first 12 games. He anticipates playing a second season of juniors before heading to UConn in 2025.

"I'm looking forward to each year, I've learned a lot at every program I've played in," Dunphy said. "I can't say enough good about my coaches."