Abram Wiebe has had an amazing start to the 2021-22 BCHL season.
Take a look at the league leaders and you’ll find the Mission product 17th in league scoring with 11 points in eight games. Of those 17 players, only Victoria’s Matthew Wood, Penticton’s Bradley Nadeau and Salmon Arm’s Noah Serdachny are the same age or younger than the 2003-born blueliner.
And yes, that’s right, Wiebe is a defenceman. Among all BCHL blueliners, only 2001-born Victoria defender Clark Hiebert has more points (13), and he’s done it in two more games.
“The points are great, but I don’t want to be seen as a person that can only play offence,” Wiebe said. “I want to be seen as a 200-foot defender that can play everywhere on the ice and contribute on the power play and penalty kill.
“As a D man, you’re not expected to put up a ton of points, and my expectations are usually around half-a-point per game. I know that if I stick to my gameplan, it’s going to happen. The points will come and I try not to think about that too much.”
After playing well at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack two weeks ago, Wiebe is on the radar of several NCAA programs, who believe his production, size (six-foot-three, 195 pounds) and skating could make him a college hockey standout.
“Because of COVID, we didn’t get an opportunity to showcase ourselves last year, only playing 20 games,” Wiebe said. “With so many scouts at this year’s BCHL Showcase, I wanted to use it to my advantage. I got an assist and some big hits, and thought I played pretty well.”
Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney might have been exaggerating when he said 20 schools are pursuing Wiebe, but the defenceman said that’s pretty accurate.
“Not too many kids open up their phone and see a text from a top-end school, and it is a little overwhelming, but I’ve worked really hard and I think I’ve earned this,” he said. “I’ve got a really good advisor to help with the school stuff, and I’m just trying to stay humble and not let it get to me.
“It’s team first. I’m just trying to stick to the plan and keep working hard in the gym and on the ice.”
Maloney goes a step further than NCAA when he talks about Wiebe, who showed up last season as a seventh defenceman. Maloney suggests National Hockey League teams should be tracking the teenager. Wiebe wasn’t on the NHL’s Central Scouting preseason watch list, but Maloney expects that’ll change.
“I’m not surprised at what he’s doing,” the coach said. “We recognized his talent right away, which is why we recruited him, and the sky’s the limit for this kid. He’s a big body that plays with ice in his veins. He’s doing a lot of good things and he should be an NHL draft pick heading off to a really good school if he keeps trending up the way he is.”
Wiebe said hearing ‘NHL draft pick’ attached to his name is crazy.
“I think back four years ago to playing Mission Minor Hockey, and now I’m playing junior A, and my coach is saying I could get draft and it’s like, ‘What?’” Wiebe said. “But all the work I’ve put in is showing up on the ice and scouts are seeing it. It is crazy, but I know if I keep playing the way I do, I’m going to end up on that next CSB list.”
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l The Chiefs played the Surrey Eagles in a game after Progress press deadlines.
They are on the road this weekend for back to back games against Powell River Friday and Saturday at the Hap Parker Arena.
See bchl.ca for the schedule.