VANCOUVER– Noah Dobson isn’t afraid of the big stage. Playing for his QMJHL team Acadie-Bathurst Titan, he recorded two goals and five assists en route to their first Memorial Cup in franchise history. Against Switzerland at the World Junior Hockey Championship, Dobson shined once again. He utilized his speed towards the net, shooting the puck in between the Swiss goalie’s legs to give Canada the winning goal.
“At the end of the day playing back-to-back nights, we were able to grind one out and get a big win against a really good team that competed hard. We’re happy with where we’re at, but we obviously know we can better and keep improving as the tournament goes on,” Dobson said after Canada’s tight 3-2 win over Switzerland.
Noah Dobson’s Path to NHL Unconventional
Noah Dobson grew up in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. A small town nestled on the Atlantic coast, hockey would be the sport of Noah’s choice in those harsh Canadian winters.
But before joining Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Dobson made an unconventional choice. He decided to spend a year playing hockey for the Red Bull Akademie in Salzburg, Austria. It was a huge sacrifice for the young defenseman that he believes gave him the skills and tools to become a successful hockey player.
“I take a lot of pride in where I’m from. It’s where I fell in love with the game,” Dobson says. “[But] as you get older, you have to make sacrifices to help your career and move away from home and get off the Island a bit.”
The decision to move away from the Island paid off. He shined in Salzburg, showcasing his two-way defensive prowess and solid positioning. It earned him a top-10 pick in the QMJHL Priority Draft to Acadie-Bathurst Titan. After a season where he put up 69 points (17 goals, 52 assists), Dobson was pegged to be the top defenseman in the NHL Draft. The New York Islanders selected him in the first round, earning themselves a foundational defenseman for many years.
“New York is getting a guy who can pile up minutes and can play against top lines and run your power play,” Acadie-Bathurst GM Sylvain Couturier says. “That’s what he’s doing at our level. But in five or six years, he’ll do that at the next level as well.”
Dobson Looking to Improve to Earn NHL Spot
Dobson did not make the Islanders in his first attempt back at training camp. Instead, New York decided to send the young defenseman back to Acadie-Bathurst, in order to improve his skills. While disappointed, Dobson is now the captain of an Acadie-Bathurst team, looking to defend its Memorial Cup championship. Through 28 games, Dobson has generated nine goals and seven assists.
But his mind is set on helping Team Canada get back to back World Junior gold medals. Having someone with the big game experience that Dobson has in his young career will pay dividends for a team that is new to the World Juniors experience.
“When we’re doing things right we control play. We all went around the room knowing what we can do better, which is cleaning up the defensive zone. And we will be better,” Dobson said.
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