Dustin Brown is so close to realizing a life long dream that he can taste it! The KaBOOM! All-Star Playmaker and Los Angeles Kings star is one of the youngest players on the USA Hockey Team, which is in the hunt to win an Olympic medal. Dustin and his teammates will square off against Finland in the first of two semifinal games on Friday at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time). If Team USA wins, they’ll advance to Sunday’s 3:15 p.m. (ET) final in which they’ll be playing to capture the first Gold Medal for the U.S. since the historic victory against the Soviet Union at the 1980 games in Lake Placid.
Team USA followed up on its 5-3 upset of heavily favored Canada earlier this week by advancing to the semifinals with a 2-0 victory against Switzerland on Wednesday. Shortly after the win, Dustin took time to answer a few questions from KaBOOM!:
A lot of children dream about playing in the Olympics when they're kids. What's this experience been like for you and was it something you dreamed about when you were young?
It has been a dream come true. I always hoped to play for my country and wear the red, white and blue. If we could win the Gold Medal, I will be able to give back to my country for everything it has given me in my life.
How important was it for you to have a place to play or a rink to skate on when you were a kid?
It was really, really important. I always worked really hard with school, and I also loved to run, skate and play sports. Playgrounds and athletics are where so many lessons are learned.
How did having that rink or place to play effect where you are today?
If it wasn’t for the chance to play as a young boy, I never would have become a pro hockey player. I owe everything to my family, and the rinks and playgrounds I used as a child.
Have you had a chance to experience Vancouver? Are there any great places to play kids should know about?
Yes, the other players and I have been fortunate to walk around the city and see what a great place it is. Also, we have had the chance to enjoy the Olympic atmosphere. There are a lot of nice parks to play games with friends.
You helped the Los Angeles Kings build a playground last spring at the Los Cerritos YMCA with KaBOOM! and you're going to build one again this summer. What was your experience like last year and are you looking forward to building another playground?
Building the playground last spring with the Kings was an unbelievable experience. I knew how many young boys and girls I was going to be helping both then and in the future. I am very excited for our next playground build and hope the city and kids of Los Angeles are equally as excited.
You can follow all the Olympic news about Dustin and his teammates from the Los Angeles Kings website! After registering 285 body checks during the 2009-09 season, Dustin donated $50 for each hit to KaBOOM! – a whopping $14,250! Dustin’s at it again for the 2009-10 season and so far, he’s racked up 226 hits for a total of $11,300. You can watch the progress of the “Hit Tracker” here!