Photo: Mark Sawyer/Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs
Hershey Bears training camp invite Dillan Fox addressed the media during the team’s 2019-20 media day Monday morning at Giant Center. The 28-year-old forward was invited to participate in this year’s camp just last week. He discussed his time in the ECHL, along with his eagerness and opportunity with the Bears.
Fox’s hometown team is the Bears. He has seen numerous games and when asked how he felt to be on the ice in Chocolate and White, the Hummelstown native replied that “it’s pretty special” to be a part of the team. He added it feels a little different being on this end but considered the promotion to Hershey “the next step” from where he was last year.
Fox started last season with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) before moving up to the ECHL’s Maine Mariners. Fox recorded 16 points (7 goals) in 24 games played with the Rail Yard Dawgs and 26 points (16 goals) in 37 games played with the Mariners. Fox had a successful year in the ECHL and is looking to continue that momentum in his AHL debut with Hershey. Specifically, he wants to “get the speed down” and “take it day-by-day”.
Fox said the coaching staff was a big part of his breakout year in the ECHL. They put him in a position and a role that helped his game and ultimately his play. “Once I have some success, that confidence just kinda takes over,” He commented.
There were some first-day jitters for Fox on the first day of camp. “As the week goes on, I think I’ll adapt a little bit better,” he mentioned, and said he is “very fortunate” to be on the ice with them.
Fox has skated on the ice at Giant Center many times, including a high school all-star game. Little did he know, ten years later he would be playing for his hometown team in that very arena. He has gotten to know “quite a bit of the [coaching] staff”, but still added how different and crazy it feels to be playing with the Bears instead of watching the Bears.
“It was quite an emotional rollercoaster, I’d say,” Fox said when asked about the emotional aspect of joining the team. He explained after last season he was presented an offer with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate. After a call for an opportunity with Hershey, Fox added it was “pretty easy to turn down the other one” and is excited for what’s to come in Chocolatetown.
Some younger Bears players have questioned and perhaps looked up to Fox considering his experience and age. “They think I’ve just been on the team for years,” Fox said in reference to guys outside the area who may not have known he lived “down the road” in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.
By Della Young