GRAVENHURST - This is the first of a series of bimonthly player profiles the Gravenhurst Banner will offer to our fans of the South Muskoka Shield as a little insight to the people behind the masks and shoulder pads.
Wade Weisgerber is an assistant captain with the Shield.
Wade Weisegerber’s path to the South Muskoka Shield wound far and wide. Now firmly planted in the first forward line, the Edmonton-born left-hander carries one of the team’s assistant captain patches and a great deal of respect from his coaching staff.
“It’s his work ethic more than anything that caught our eye,” said head coach and general manager Dal Telford. “Right from the first day of training camp you could see he was dedicated to the team and his performance.”
Weisgerber played his first years of hockey in the Alberta capitol until his family moved to Hawaii when he was 10.
“That was the only year I took off hockey, but we moved to Arizona the next year and I got right back into it,” the 19-year-old Weisgerber said.
He played there through last season, when he played his second year of Junior A level, as he does here. He said he returned north to get back onto Canadian ice and play a game he is very comfortable in.
“Hockey here (in Canada) is probably more of a skilled game, it’s a lot faster,” he said. “Down there (in Arizona) it was probably a little bit more physical than we play here. But so far I’m really enjoying the transition; I’m liking the way Dal is always behind us and pushing us.”
Weisgerber described his game as a little more all-around than as a specialist.
“I really like to play my defensive end and the work ethic involved in penalty killing; you have to really have your head in the game when playing in your defensive end,” he said. “But I also like being on the power play or in the offensive zone, looking to set something up or cause some chaos in front of the net.
“As an assistant captain I believe I have a pretty important role on this team. I’m here to score and to set it up (scoring chances), but I also think I’m here to be a character to look up to and to help provide some leadership for the team any way I can.”
Telford said Weisgerber suits the role ideally, and tends to be the softer-spoken type leader.
“No matter who he’s playing or what the score is, he is giving it his all. He leads by example with his dedication and grit,” Telford said.
Weisgerber said the team has begun to gel strongly the last few games after a bit of a slow start to the season that saw the Shield go 2-4 through its first six games.
“We’ve really started to pull together now. I’m looking forward to some good things this season now that we’ve really started getting comfortable with each other and our different styles of play,” Weisgerber said. “It’s been a bit up and down to start the season, but in the last couple of games I think we really pulled it together.”
Looking in to the future, Weisgerber is hoping his time with the Shield will help hone his skills for a run at either college-level hockey or a chance in the European leagues.