Wiesblatt leading Raiders in points in WHL Hub
REGINA -- Ozzy Wiesblatt's team-leading 19 points have provided a spark and some leadership for the Prince Albert Raiders down the stretch in the WHL Hub.
“I wanted to take on a bigger role this year. We had some guys that didn’t come back this season so I knew I had to step up and be that guy for the team,” Wiesblatt said.
Three of the Raiders top four point producers from 2020 didn’t return this season, including Belarus’s Aliaksei Protras, a Washington Capitals prospect.
Wiesblatt rose to the occasion. He is currently tied for fourth in the Western Hockey League with 15 assists. Rookie Logan Linklater, who scored his first WHL goal in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Regina, admires the veteran.
“I think Ozzy’s a player that I looked up to since I started following these guys since I got drafted. We’re not both the biggest but we both like to play that physical edge. We like to be a little bit of a pest,” Linklater said.
The 19-year-old from Calgary, AB doesn’t shy away from a fight. Wiesblatt recorded a Gordie Howe Hat trick - a goal, an assist and a fight- to open the 2021 season. However, according to Head Coach Marc Habscheid, he also keeps things light in the dressing room.
“You know he adds a lot to our culture inside our room, he’s always up to something,” Habscheid said.
Wiesblatt decided to grow a mustache this season and the team quickly followed suit.
“I think most of the guys are starting to do it right now so I guess I am always up to something,” Wiesblatt said.
In October, Wiesblatt was rewarded for his talent. The San Jose Sharks selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, 31st overall. Director of Amateur Scouting, Doug Wilson Jr, announced Ozzy’s name in sign language on national television, a gesture for his mother, Kim White.
“My moms done a lot for me to get, to help me get to where I am,” Wiesblatt said.
Wiesblatt played three games with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda this season. He admitted he was in awe during training camp in Arizona.
“You see guys that you grew up as a kid watching on TV and saying to yourself, maybe one day you’ll play against them or play with them,” Wiesblatt said.
Raiders' defenseman Kaiden Guhle was also drafted in the first round of the 2020 NHL draft, by the Montreal Canadians. Guhle has only played in two WHL games this season due to an injury, however, the duo challenge each other on the ice.
“We push each other in practices and we want to be better than each other,” Wiesblatt said.
The Raiders are currently 6-8-2-1 in the hub and have seven games left in 2021.