Riding the Wave
In his short time with the Hitmen Orca Wiesblatt has made a big splash.
After being signed on Oct. 27, the 17-year-old has appeared in all four games since coming over from the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits.
It was a wild ride for the rookie forward who signed his deal and took to the ice for the first time in a Hitmen jersey the same day.
“It was an exciting feeling,” Wiesblatt said. “It was also nerve wracking at first coming in but the guys were so welcoming.”
It didn’t hurt that he saw welcoming faces such as forme Calgary Bisons bantam teammate Andrew Viggars, who he also played with on Team Calgary South for the Alberta Cup in 2014.
The tilts against the Hurricanes on Oct. 27 and 28 proved to be a learning experience for Wiesblatt as he settled into the different play-style of the ‘Dub.
“The first two games I had no clue what to do,” he laughed. “I got a practice in before that third game that helped get a better grasp of the forecheck and defensive zone.”
“I didn’t realize that third game would be when I scored my first goal.”
Locked in 1-1 tie during the first period in Lethbridge on Nov. 3, the Calgary native would take a centering pass from Luke Coleman on a back-door play to one-time it home for his first career WHL marker.
He said the goal highlighted his style of play: cashing in around the net and not shying away from the gritty play.
“Most of my goals are from around that area,” he said. “I’m feisty around there. I had a feeling the first one would be something like that.”
The second eldest Wiesblatt along with his siblings Ozzy, Ocean, Oasis and Oceania all had a strong passion for the game.
It was hockey 24/7.
“My brothers and I were always competitive growing up,” he said. “We would go hard at each other with slashes and didn’t let up.”
“We’ve loved the game and it’s been in our blood. The only thing we watched was hockey. It’s our game.”
Now as a member of the Hitmen and a stone’s throw from the Flames dressing room,there have definitely been some pinch-men moments since arriving at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
What makes the experience even more surreal is seeing his favourite player out on the ice, Johnny Gaudreau.
“He’s so exciting to watch each time,” Wiesblatt said. “He’s shifty and knows where to be at all times. He can do it all.
“It’s still on my to-do list to possibly run into him.”