Dan Allen was born and raised in the hockey hotbed of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada which borders Michigan. Dan loved hockey and excelled at a young age. He played AAA, the highest level for his age and twice scored 100+ goals in a single season, the only time a Sarnia AAA player has done this. Dan moved on to play Junior B hockey and was ranked as high as the number 7 Junior A draft pick. Dan instead played in the NCAA and after talking with Princeton, Brown and University of Ohio, he chose Brown. As a freshman, he made 2nd Team All American, and Freshman Ivy League Rookie of the Year. By his senior year, Dan led the Brown team to the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, where they lost to Harvard. After college Dan tried out for the Toronto Maple Leafs as a walk-on but didn’t make it. The IHL was an opportunity but Dan instead chose to go into seminary
Dan Allen is better known now as Pastor Dan, where he ministers at Woodside Bible Chapel in Elmira, Ontario, Canada. He has been married to Lisa for 24 years and they have 3 children, Will, Sarah and Brett, the latter who is following in his dad’s hockey footsteps.
Q&A with Dan
Q – As a Christian Athlete, looking back at your time in high school and college, what do you look back at and are happy you did (i.e. something that positively affected you in your Christian growth, or things that allowed you to be a positive witness to others)?
A – Brown University had quite the party life, with sororities, and plenty of hooking up. There were many temptations for a young guy away from home for the first time. I am so thankful that, right from the beginning, I sought out a Christian group as a lifeline. I got involved in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, attended a local church and eventually led bible studies with other hockey players.
Q – As a Christian Athlete, looking back at that same period, do you have some regrets, maybe something you wish you could do over if you could go back to that time in school?
A – In retrospect I wish I had gotten involved in more students’ lives. I didn’t live in a fraternity, but rather off campus, so I didn’t have the connection to many of those students. Perhaps I could have hung out at their fraternities during the day and worked harder to build into their lives.
Q – What advice do you have for young Christian Athletes from your experiences?
A – When you head out on your own you need to make your Christian faith your own. Make sure you reach out and find a Christian family or other Christian students. Make sure you are walking with other Christians. Also don’t underestimate the influence you are having as a Christian and who is watching you. I remember a guy I played with in Junior B. He didn’t seem to like me much because I was a Christian. He would shoot pucks at my skates in practise. Years later I got a call from this guy who told me he had become a Christian. God was able to use me as a seed and years later that seed sprouted. Never underestimate the value of your witness.
Q – How did sports fit in with your faith?
A – As an athlete it is important to recognize that God gifted you and His intent is to use this gift for His glory. As a Christian Athlete you need to work with God to develop your talents in your sport for God’s glory. You are not perfect but He who is in you is perfect. The question is: “is God real in you?”
Q – Finally, can you think of a really low period in your athletic career, and let the readers know how you dealt with that time, and perhaps how you grew from it?
A – When I was a young man I told God that my plan was to play in the NHL for two years and then go into ministry. I didn’t make the NHL. It didn’t work out as I had planned. I remember it clearly; I was 23 years old and was sitting on a bench with my skates in my hands and I realized the dream was over. It was hard to process it at the time and if it weren’t for a strong faith in God, an understanding of the sovereignty of God, I would not have done well. Today I am so grateful that God gave me the opportunity to play a sport at a high level and experience the many benefits that came with that. And even though I play hockey now occasionally (at a much lower level!), I still seek to play for His glory.
Favourite Bible Passages
Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight
Matthew 5: 14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.