D155 Predators forward James Dingle motivated to push ahead in North-Central Division
By Ross Forman – James Dingle knew that every game he played at the Crystal Ice House in Crystal Lake, he simply had to glance at the top row of the bleachers in the home section for support and motivation. That’s where his grandmother (Carol Dingle) sat, always, from the time he was 4 in learn-to-skate sessions to every home game after that.
She was, of course, ever proud of her grandson, and even if there was a blizzard outside, she was inside cheering for James. “Her life was the Ice House,” said Dingle, whose dad and uncles also have played at the northwest suburban rink.
Grandma Carol died this summer.
“The biggest influence on my career is my parents because my whole family is a hockey family, deriving from my dad’s side, and without that who knows if I would be playing hockey today,” he said.
Dingle, who lives in Crystal Lake and attends Prairie Ridge High School, is a left-handed shooting left wing for the co-op D155 Predators, which also features players from Crystal Lake Central and Cary-Grove High Schools.
The Predators finished 6-13-3 last season in the Champions League of the IHSHL North-Central Division, which was Dingle’s first run on the co-op varsity. He previously played for the Yellow Jackets.
“James has developed into a great leader over the few years,” said Predators head coach Eric Doersam. “He is probably our top forward when it comes to pure skill and scoring ability, but I am most proud of the leadership qualities he has developed. This has been an especially hard year for the players not having a regular-season of games to look forward to, yet James still has found a way to step up and lead his peers on and off the ice.”
Dingle said his junior season was “very special,” even though he only tallied 2 goals in 20 league games. This season is even more special, more meaningful.
“My style of play, or what I describe it as, is being a really smart player who moves the puck well, has smooth hands, and uses my teammates well while being smart with the puck,” he said. “I know my strength has improved (since) last season from lifting weights during the summer.
“I do feel pressure this season because, being a senior, I have to pursue a leadership role. I feel I bring a lot to the team being a more skilled player, and playing on the more skilled line makes me believe I bring a lot, from goals, assists, etc.”
Dingle is a fast, smart player who certainly is skilled with the puck. His shot accuracy also is an asset.
“The leadership I bring to the team is being a role-model for all of the younger players, and for the players my age. I have to take players under my wing and share what I know about the game to them.”
Dingle also plays for the Prairie Ridge lacrosse team, as he’s played that sport since he was in sixth grade for the Crystal Lake Hawks. In fact, he was the lacrosse team captain for the JV team during both his freshman and sophomore seasons, and last season he was on the varsity lacrosse team – but after only a few practices, that season was cancelled.
Dingle will attend Indiana University next fall and wants to skate for the Hoosiers hockey club.
Slapshots with … D155 Predators forward James Dingle
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Patrick Kane.
Favorite Sports-Themed Movie: Miracle
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: “Some sort of spaghetti or pasta.”
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Adam Sandler
Best Hockey Tip: “Always keep my feet moving, from my dad when he formerly coached me.”
Teammate You Can See As A hockey Coach: Joey Letto
Hardest Slapshot on Your Team: Zander Marino
Most Accurate Shot on Your Team: “Myself.”
Fastest Skater: Nick Letto
Best High School Uniforms (other than D155): PREP
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.