Among the top-ranked defenceman for the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, Noah Dobson comes from small beginnings in Canada’s tiniest province.
The latest in a list of names that includes Brad Richards, Gerard Gallant, Steve Ott and Adam McQuaid to come out of Prince Edward Island, the Summerside native is the fifth-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings and is getting his first taste of Mastercard Memorial Cup action this week in Regina.
While he’s well on his way to prominence at the highest levels of the game, Dobson, who registered 69 points (17-52–69) in 67 games this past season, hasn’t forgotten the place and the people who helped him get to where he is today.
“I’m very proud of being born, raised and playing my minor hockey in Prince Edward Island, it’s a special place for me,” he said. “They’ve got a great hockey program in Summerside and they’ve managed to develop some pretty good players who have gone on to play at the junior level.”
The 6-foot-3, 178Ib. right-shot defender even took time to extend thanks to one of his favourite minor hockey coaches who had a big part in his development rising through the ranks.
“Rodney MacArthur coached me for a few years and really had a big part in helping me become the player I am today,” Dobson recalled. “He was a real player’s coach and took the time to teach me and other players how to think the game at a deeper level. That really helped me in my development.”
Dobson spent his minor midget season developing under former NHL forward Brian Savage and ex-NHL head coach Pierre Pagé at Red Bull Hockey Academy in Salzburg, Austria before being selected sixth overall by Acadie-Bathurst in the 2016 QMJHL Draft.
Conveniently, both of Dobson’s parents grew up in Bathurst and he now billets with his grandparents in the city of approximately 13,500. Bringing the entire community together around its first QMJHL Championship since 1999 was a special moment for Dobson, who registered 13 points (3-10–13) over 20 games during the playoff run.
“My home is P.E.I., but Bathurst is like my home away from home and I have so many friends and family there,” he said. “It was very special to experience a championship in the city and to win in that electric atmosphere on home ice. It’s a day I’ll never forget.”
Dobson, who NHL Central Scouting cites as a prospect who “controls the play at both bluelines” and boasts “quickness, agility, anticipation and great hockey sense” has shown well in Regina this week, helping the Titan get off to a 2-0 start. He turned in a first star performance in Sunday’s 8-6 win over the host Regina Pats, recording two goals and two assists.
Dobson’s game has flourished in Acadie-Bathurst as head coach Mario Pouliot has put the young defender in situations to succeed. He’s had the opportunity to play alongside five-year veteran and QMJHL Defenceman of the Year Olivier Galipeau, together forming one of the top defensive pairings in the entire CHL.
“He’s a real veteran presence and both him and Adam Holwell do all the little things right,” noted Dobson. “They’ve both shown me what it is to stay calm under pressure and they’re both guys with over 300 games played in the league.”
Though just a sophomore, Dobson has gained the admiration of his coaches and teammates, already serving as one of the club’s alternate captains.
“I’ve been playing with him for two years now,” said Titan captain Jeffrey Truchon-Viel. “He’s so mature, how he acts, how he prepares himself for a game or even for a practice. It’s just great to have him around. He’s a great leader for us.”
A QMJHL champion and Ivan Hlinka gold medalist, Dobson continues to work toward adding a 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup title to his resume as the Titan hit the ice against the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight on Sportsnet, TVA Sports and NHL Network at 8:00pm MT/10:00pm ET.