Photos: Garrett James, Kyle Balzer
The Merritt Centennials are extremely proud to announce that hometown defenseman Talon Zakall has committed to Dartmouth College for the 2022-23 season.
After joining the Cents as a 16 year old, Zakall did more than play sheltered minutes as he got into 45 games as a rookie and contributed a goal and 10 points. Last season Zakall saw his ice time and responsibilities grow especially as the season wore on and veterans were traded for future pieces. He grew into a top pair option, and had to anchor the Centennials defense core through the latter half of the season and thrived under the pressure recording 6 goals and 24 points. His strong showing during his sophomore season garnered him some darkhorse consideration in the NHL Draft, but his name went uncalled. In the extended exhibition this fall, Zakall gathered 2 goals and 5 points through 7 games.
Head Coach Derek Sweet-Coulter says that of all Zakall’s qualities it’s his willingness to endure and put the work in that’s most impressive.
“Talon persevered last season and took advantage of every opportunity that our program offers. Whether he was playing well or struggling he showed up and put in the work to get better every day as a hockey player and person. I am extremely proud to be his coach and to have played a small part in his future.”
Zakall says that he isn’t sure yet what he will focus on in college, but he will bring the same attitude to the classroom and to the locker room that he’s done with the Cents.
“I’m undecided on what I want to major in, but I’m just going to work hard to get good grades in my classes and continue to develop my hockey skills everyday.” He adds that the coaching staff at Dartmouth sold him on the program. “The coaching staff really drew me to Dartmouth, they have a great history of developing players and I’m extremely excited to work with them. Also the education there is unbelievable.”
Zakall says that the steps he’s taken wouldn’t have been possible without Merritt and the Cents.
“The Centennials have played a major part in getting me to where I am today. Can’t say enough good things about the organization and the people who have helped me along the way.”
In playing for Ivy League Dartmouth, Zakall will be going up against former team mates in Brad Cocca, Jackson Munro, and Mathieu Gosselin in the seasons to come.