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Dube Defends Fittest Flame Title, Status in Hockey Canada Case



Calgary Flames Dillon Dube Jack Eichel

The title of fittest Calgary Flames player is just one more thing Dillon Dube defended this week.

After a long period of personal silence on the Hockey Canada sexual assault investigation, the 24-year-old commented twice this week, sharing that he has been cooperating, but that he’s unable to share anything more than that at this point.

“I’ve cooperated in any way possible and will continue cooperating. I’ve done everything I can to cooperate,” he first told Eric Francis on Friday.

He added another sentence to the statement on Saturday when asked again.

“With (the investigation) going on, I wish I could share more. But that’s all I can share to this point. I would love to be transparent. I know that’s all I can really say on it to be honest. For me, I wish I could tell.”

Dube was captain for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championship. The assault investigation is around a group sexual assault at a Hockey Canada gala in London, Ont., that year.

While he looks to the past with investigators, he is looking forward with the Calgary Flames.

With 18 goals last season — including nine in the month of April — Dube experienced a breakout campaign.

Knowing how much effort he put into his offseason training again, he should be able to add to that total this year.

Opportunity awaits with a deeper top nine that will allow him to spend his entire year on the wing instead of flipping back and forth to the centre spot. That was something head coach Darryl Sutter experimented with last year. But the bench boss says he likes Dube on the left side.

“I think he’s a better left-winger than a right-winger,” Sutter said Friday. “But he’s also played centre in junior. It’s easy for coaches to fall back on. We pushed him all over the lineup.

“Where he plays is just how other guys are doing. I’m comfortable playing him anywhere. You keep trying to get him to push forward a little bit.”

The fitness feat is another positive sign.

Mikael Backund finished second and Trevor Lewis third. Dube became the first back-to-back Calgary Flames champ since Michael Frolik in 2017 and 2018.

“I think that he’s getting pretty good at that,” Sutter said. “See his name in there just about every year he’s been here … he’s still the leader of the young group.

“That’s kind of a broad subject, fitness testing, because there’s a lot of different tests. There’s a lot of high-end guys. There’s a lot of veterans up there; it’s not about Dillon or Mikael or Trevor.

“That gauge or that rating is like ‘that much’ more than somebody else,” he added, holding his fingers a sliver apart. “That’s how close it is.

“I think we’re significantly better than last year, and last year was significantly better than the year before.”

It’s all part of the program for Dube, who could find himself on the left side of newcomer Nazem Kadri or Backlund early this season.

“I think Dillon, him and I have talked about his … probably February on and the playoffs, Dillon was a really good player for us,” Sutter said. “That’s what it takes now. He’s a versatile kid. Just as he gets a little bit older the whole preparation part, the maturity part of his game, takes another step. That’s what you want.”

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