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BOYNE CITY — Boyne City junior Dylan Robinson has made a name for himself around Northern Michigan for his skills on the ice with the Petoskey hockey team.

Lately, however, Robinson is busy making a name for himself away from ice, with his latest work of art better suited for open water, rather than the frozen kind.

When he’s not skillfully frustrating opponents in the hockey arena, Robinson can be found in the woodshop, whether at home or in class at Boyne City High School, creating masterpieces of all kinds.

“I really enjoy doing it,” said Robinson on the trade. “Whether it’s making big projects or small projects.”

Over the last eight months, Robinson crafted a cedar strip canoe in his wood working class at Boyne City and recently came away with multiple honors at the Michigan Industrial Technology Education Society (MITES) competition in Lansing. 

He earned first place in both state and regional competition in the transportation category and brought in the Grand Prize award in the open division for the canoe. Then, a surprise to Robinson, the American Society of Body Engineers then presented him with the Best in Show award for creativity and craftsmanship, encompassing the entire competition.

“Grand Award, you’re never sure whether or not you’re going to get that,” said Robinson. “Then they came in and selected Best in Show, I was not expecting that at all. I had never heard of them coming out and doing that. So that was cool.”

Robinson also found the time to craft a wakeboard, which earned a first place prize at regionals and second place prize at states in the recreation and games division.

Finding the time to work on any of his projects was the tricky part.

Hockey season ran from early November all the way into March, making for some master organization skills and dedication to his work as his sport and hobby overlapped. 

“It was mostly just in our one-hour wood working class,” he said on getting the work done. “For the most part, then during the holiday break I would go into the school and there were whole days where I would work on it, basically 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

And it’s not like Robinson was just mailing it in on the ice with Petoskey, who Boyne City High School has a co-op agreement with for Robinson to compete with the Northmen. It was just the opposite.

Robinson closed the season playing in all 25 games and led the Northmen in assists with 26 and goals with 28. He ranked second in the Big North Conference in total points with 54 during the regular season and had just three games during the course of the season where he didn’t have either an assist or goal in a game.

He was later awarded honorable mention all-state from the Michigan High School Hockey Coaches Association.

“It was definitely a big step up from last year,” said Robinson. “I did really well my freshman year and then just didn’t do well last year, but that could be because I broke my collarbone last year before the season. Then there was a lot going on with COVID and everything. It was just a lot better year.”

Petoskey hockey as a whole finished the season with the program’s first-ever Big North title and set a new program record for wins (21) as well.

“It was really cool,” he added. “It was definitely a good team. We had a lot of seniors returning from the past year and it felt like a family.”

Robinson’s own family is really where he picked up skills in the woodshop, as his father, Charles, built a similar canoe that was recognized at the state level in high school and his uncle and cousin did the same.

Dylan of course took over the family bragging rights with the Grand Prize and Best in Show awards for his canoe, which features multiple forms of wood, including white cedar as the main and ancient wood like walnut and others mixed in. He was also able to get some help with the clear coating for the outside.

“I just tried to do a lot of stuff to make it my own,” he said on setting it apart. “Then I was able to go over to Lake Area Collision, Steve Whittaker let me go over there and use his car spray booth, so that was really nice to spray on my clear coat.”

With another year left at Boyne City, Robinson is busy thinking up his next project, which he’s hoping to have a bit more time to put into, in-between another year of leading the Northmen on the ice and finishing up his classes.

“I’m trying to convince our principal to let me take two hours of woodshop next year,” said Robinson with a laugh. “I only need two classes to get my credits to graduate, so I’ll have four open hours for electives. I’m thinking about making another canoe. There’s some things I would do different, just to try out and see how it turns out. Then possibly sell that canoe once I finish, since I already have one.”

This weekend, if the weather cooperates, Robinson’s Best in Show canoe could finally be meeting the water.

“I’m probably going to be taking it out this weekend if it’s sunny out on Walloon Lake,” he added. “It would be the first time, so that would be cool.”

Contact Sports Editor Drew Kochanny at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter, @DrewKochanny, and Instagram, @drewkochanny

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