For one Weber State University hockey player, winter break won’t provide a break in the action. Sophomore Dax Hobbs, who led the team in his freshman year with 47 goals in 35 games, was selected to the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II Select Team that will play in Europe just after Christmas.
“That’s a big honor,” Hobbs said, “especially to be the only sophomore on that team. It’s a huge honor to represent Weber State, even to represent the Western half of the United States. Most of the guys on the team are East Coast players and higher-end players. It was a shock, but it really is something else. I’m almost at a loss for words over it.”
Hobbs is one of 23 players selected from all over the country to be named to the team, and he is also the youngest player. The team will play six games from Dec. 27 to Jan. 6 in multiple countries across Europe.
“They go to Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria and the Czech Republic,” said WSU head coach Joe Pfleegor. “The ACHA every two years will put together an all-select team from the entire United States. For Dax Hobbs to make that team, that says a lot — not only for himself, but for the team and for Weber State University.”
Team captain Braxton Green said he was excited for Hobbs to make the trip. Green just barely missed out on making the team himself.
“I can’t tell you the last time a Weber State player was selected to represent the school like that,” he said. “He had a great year last year. I think it will be a good experience for him to go over there. It looks good for the school and is definitely well deserved.”
Pfleegor has raved about Hobbs since he had a breakout freshman season last year. He emphasized the enormity of Hobbs making the team.
“We are going to have somebody representing the United States that goes to Weber State University,” he said. “Out of over 200 Division II schools, we got Dax Hobbs representing us. That says a lot for him, the team and the program, and the school.”
WSU’s team will play its last game of the year on Dec. 9, giving Hobbs a short rest before he travels to Europe. WSU will resumes its season on Jan. 10.
“It’s funny,” Hobbs said, “because we played so many games over this semester that, when I saw the schedule at the beginning of the year, I thought, ‘Oh gosh, I can’t wait until Christmas break.’ Then I get that offer. It was like, ‘Oh yeah, I get to go overseas,’ and now it’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t get a break, though.’ But I think the pros outweigh the cons on that. I’d much rather go play. At least my legs will stay fresh over the break.”
Although the team doesn’t have games for a month, the players don’t give themselves much of a break anyway.
“Most of us only take about a week off at Christmas anyways,” Green said. “We skate at home. Instead of us just doing practices with the team that we play for, he’ll be playing games. It will keep him in shape.”
Clay Hobbs, Dax’s father and an assistant coach at WSU, had two different reactions to the news of his son making the select team.
“I think that that’s quite an honor for anybody in our program,” he said. “I’m excited for Dax, just being his coach, but I’d be just as excited for anyone else from our program who’d be going to play for our national team. It’s a good opportunity for him to go and play with some of the best guys in the country and play against the foreign competition and see some new things he’s never seen before. As a dad, it’s nice to have your kid recognized to play on a national team.”
Video courtesy of Hector Valencia and Timothy Potter, Signpost Correspondents