The Summerside native was a member of Team Canada’s under-18 team that won the gold medal at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup on Saturday afternoon.
“It was a great experience overall,” the 17-year-old son of Andrew and Jenny Dobson told the Journal Pioneer in an interview on Monday morning. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to play with a great bunch of guys and players.”
Dobson registered three assists in Canada’s five tournament games while assuming a “defensive role” on Canada’s blue-line.
“What really made our team successful was all 22 guys accepted their role, and really took pride in it,” offered Dobson, who will rejoin the Acadie-Bathurst Titan next week for his sophomore season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“I’m pretty excited to get back to Bathurst,” said Dobson, who had 26 points in 63 regular-season games and five assists in 11 post-season contests in his rookie campaign with the Titan. “Hopefully, we can take what we learned from last year’s experience in the playoffs, and really use it this year.”
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This was not Dobson’s first international experience for Team Canada. He played for Canada Red in last year’s World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
“I’d say they are pretty similar, but obviously this experience (under-18) was just the one (Canadian) team,” compared Dobson. “There is a lot of pressure being part of Team Canada. Team Canada is always expected to win, but they were similar experiences.
“You are playing against the same international teams, Russia, Sweden and Finland.”
Dobson described the competition in Slovakia and the Czech Republic as “pretty high.” He noted there were differences compared to the under-17 tournament.
“Guys are bigger now, and it was best on best from all the 2000s in the world,” continued Dobson, who is eligible for the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft. “Games were pretty high paced, and it was a different European style with the bigger ice; there was a lot more skill and skating compared to the hitting. The skill level was pretty high on every team.”
The bigger playing surface resulted in Dobson having to make one adjustment to his play.
“You had more time with the puck,” he said. “In North America, you have to get rid of it a little faster.
“It took a couple of periods to get used to knowing you have that extra second to make the play, and that you don’t have to panic.”
Off the ice, the Canadian players had to adjust to a different continent, culture and food.
Overall, Dobson says he is “happy” with his play for Team Canada.
“It’s easy to fit in and play well when you are surrounded by the best players in the country, and you play off each other,” he added. “It was certainly nice to end this experience off with a gold medal. It was like the cherry on the top.”