Duncan Dalmao, who is in his third professional season as a coach, went from assistant coach of the 2021-22 Indy Fuel to their interim head coach last month. Since then, he’s led the Fuel to a 15-9-6 record.
Prior to his coaching career, Dalmao had 11 professional seasons under his belt split between North America and Europe. After playing three seasons in the OHL, Dalmao played in 391 ECHL games tallying 49 goals and 152 assists with the Birmingham Bulls, Pee Dee Pride Roanoke Express and Greenville Grrrowl. In 2001, he won the ECHL’s Defenseman of the Year award.
But who is Duncan Dalmao? We see him every game, but what do we really know about him? For this week’s Fuel Insider, we decided to ask him some questions and get to know the man behind the bench.
FUEL: What got you interested in hockey?
DALMAO: Not sure I remember, my dad fell in love with the sport when he immigrated to Canada, and I can’t think of a time in my life when I wasn’t playing it in some shape way or form, on the ice, in the street, in my living room etc.
FUEL: Tell us about your journey in hockey
DALMAO: Played my minor hockey in Toronto growing up. Was drafted and played my major junior hockey in the OHL, turned pro after that and played for 11 years in NA and Europe. Retired and started a Hockey Skills development school in Toronto, as well as coaching minor hockey. Started coaching at the ECHL level in 2018-19 and have been on this path ever since.
FUEL: What made you want to become a coach / what’s the most rewarding part about coaching?
DALMAO: I think coaching is about repaying a debt to the people who coached you along the way, as well as providing athletes with knowledge and insights that you didn’t have access to when you were in their shoes. Making connections with athletes enough to impact not only their careers but their lives as a whole. My biggest fear is for someone to look back after having me as a coach and ruining that experience in that time of their career, at any level. If a player has positive feelings about how they were treated or what they learned after being coached by you, then you’ve done your job as a leader and a human being.
FUEL: Do you have a favorite moment from your time playing or coaching?
DALMAO: That’s like asking someone if they have a favorite movie! There are too many memories and experiences to rank throughout my life. What I can say is that I've been very fortunate to have played with, coached by, and been involved with some fantastic people during my hockey life, most of which I still call mentors, and friends.
FUEL: What’s your favorite NHL team?
DALMAO: That’s easy, THE Toronto Maple Leafs
FUEL: What do you like most about this team and Indianapolis?
DALMAO: The organization here is top notch. From top to bottom everything is first class! The group of guys here are fantastic, I can only hope I’ve taught them half as much as they’ve taught me about resiliency, and togetherness. Although our record may not indicate it, I’m not sure a better group of people has ever been assembled. Indy is an amazing city, lots to do, some great restaurants, and so much more! What more can you ask for!?
FUEL: When you aren’t at the rink, what do you like to do in your free time?
DALMAO: Golf, in any shape, way or form. 😊 That’s my happy place!
FUEL: What’s a fun fact about you people might not know?
DALMAO: My parents immigrated to Canada from Uruguay when they were both in their 20’s. My grandparents are all originally from Italy, they fled to South America during WWII. So I can luckily speak fluent Spanish, and a reasonable amount of Italian!