The WHL is back, and so, too, is the Raiders’ Ozzy Wiesblatt, another year older and now an NHL first-round draft pick. After averaging over a point a game (70 points in 64 games) last season, Wiesblatt was taken by the San Jose Sharks with the last pick in the first round.
“You know any time that you can go in the first round or get drafted in general it’s really exciting,” Wiesblatt said.
“For San Jose to believe in me and take me with their first pick means the world to me. And I think I’ll spend every day until I’m finished playing hockey proving to them that they made the right decision.”
The East Division’s teams are now confined to the hub or bubble in Regina, something that is a new experience for everyone.
Players are spending a lot of time with friends and family on video calls, something Wiesblatt said he has gotten used to. Besides keeping in close contact with his parents, Wiesblatt has two brothers in the WHL (Medicine Hat Tigers and Calgary Hitmen), a brother in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and a younger sister.
“You know, me and my brothers always stay connected. Whether it’s FaceTime or call or just talking on a text or something like that, so it’s not really any different at this point,” Wiesblatt said.
The Raiders are looking to Wiesblatt to put up more big numbers and step up as one of the team’s leaders this season. He is one of six players the Raiders will rotate as assistant captains.
“I think is good for them, individually and for us as a team,” says Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid.
“It’s just kind of helps them spread the Raider way.”
Wiesblatt added that “one special thing about the Raiders is how close everybody is.”
“We make everybody feel welcome, and feel like they belong.”