It has been a busy week for 20-year-old Jaxsen Wiebe, as he signed a three-year Entry-Level Contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks late Thursday afternoon.
Wiebe who hails from Moose Jaw and currently playing with the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars says that it was an exciting feeling putting pen to paper and signing the contract.
“It’s exciting to have a childhood dream come true,” says Wiebe. “I had my parents in town here in Prince George, so the timing worked out perfectly. We all sat there and did it together and then it all came to fruition. It’s been a hectic week but it has started to calm down.”
Being able to have his parents with him made the moment even more special for Wiebe.
“It’s super exciting for any parents that see their child reach their goal. They’ve been working their whole life to give me an opportunity to pursue hockey and I can’t thank them enough for that. My mom was all joy and my dad was a little more reserved but I could still see the excitement through him.”
Wiebe adds that the first person he contacted once signing the three-year deal was his grandmother in Moose Jaw, followed by his older brother, then other immediate family members.
As mentioned, Wiebe has had a crazy week fielding phone calls, texts, and social media messages from friends, former teammates, and Moose Jaw Javian's congratulating him on his accomplishment.
“It’s good to see when that many people are happy for you,” adds Wiebe. “There has been lots of love and lots of people reaching out and I definitely appreciate it.”
Though Wiebe signed the deal last Thursday, he mentioned that the conversation between him and the Ducks began in mid-January.
“The first couple of times it was just getting to know each other, as both parties wanted to see if each other were a good fit. Last week, is when they approached me about the contract. What they saw in me is the way that I play, which is a little more old-school and physical. I think they like that about my game, I do that role and take pride in it and I’m hoping to translate that to the next level.”
Wiebe will join a star-studded Ducks roster with names like Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish – a player he knows quite well playing against him in the Memorial Cup in 2022.
“He’s a great player. It’s a super exciting organization to join with all that young talent and looking forward to contributing in any way I can.”
The 6'1" right-winger says that he describes himself as a power forward that plays with an edge.
“I can score some goals but also get into the greasy areas. I do a little bit of everything, play on the powerplay and penalty kill. I’m a versatile player that plays a role in whatever situation the coaches and team need at that point.”
The Moose Jaw product has put together an impressive WHL resume. In four seasons in the league, he has put up 89 points in 160 regular-season games.
But before that, he started his career in the Moose Jaw Minor Hockey Association system playing two seasons for the U15 AA Warriors and one with the U18 AAA Generals (Now Moose Jaw WINMAR AAA Warriors). In three seasons in the MJMHA, he had 86 points in 98 career games.
He says that his playing career in Moose Jaw has contributed to him making that next step in his career.
“I give tons of credit to coaches like Derek Kletzel and Trevor Weisgerber who’s been helping me since I was 12 years old and it’s been huge for my development. The small town that it is, it definitely has the tools for young hockey players to reach anywhere they want to go. I give tons of credit to those people and tons of other coaches as well that I would like to thank.”
In 2017, Wiebe was drafted by the Nipawin Hawks in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL. Prior to making the jump to the Rebels, Wiebe played 48 games in a Hawks uniform and surpassed 26 points in his rookie season.
In 2019-20, he joined Red Deer for 52 games scoring eight goals and adding seven assists. In a shortened COVID-19 season the next year, Wiebe had three points in 21 games.
The very next season he was traded to the Edmonton Oil Kings and was part of a team that won the WHL Championship and booked their ticket to the Memorial Cup in Saint John, NB, last June.
Wiebe notes that WHL Championship and Memorial Cup experience rank among the top moments that he will never forget.
“The special group that we had last year to go and to the things that we did and win the league. That was our goal all year and we had high expectations from everyone. When we won it in Game 6 against Seattle in the WHL final, the celebration is something that you will never forget and a group you will never forget.”
He led the Oil Kings in scoring in the four-team tournament with three goals and four points, which included a hat-trick against the host Sea Dogs in their lone win of the tournament.
A mid-November trade from a rebuilding Edmonton squad brought him to Prince George to finish out his WHL career. In a Cougar’s uniform, Wiebe has 33 points including 14 goals in 36 games. He and the Cougars are fighting for playoff positioning in the Western Conference’s BC Division.
Following his final WHL season Wiebe will prepare for the Ducks’ training camp in late summer.
He says that his preparation for what lies ahead will be simple, keep things status quo.
“If it’s not broken don’t fix it. It’s been working and been working for our team. I will be sticking with what’s been working and not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything, just staying true to my game.”
Wiebe concluded by saying that the drive to get where he is today, stems from the happiness he gets when stepping out onto the ice.
“I don’t think I've lost that. Being a part of a team and a special game in Canada. The hockey community that surrounds it is something that brings purpose and happiness. It’s an awesome game and has brought me to where I am today.”
You can listen to the full interview between Wiebe and Discover Moose Jaw's Jay-D Haughton below: