Summerside native named QMJHL's playoff MVP on a special anniversary
Noah Dobson may not have had the opportunity to know his late grandfather very long, but they have shared a special connection for some very special moments in his budding hockey career.
The 19-year-old son of Andrew and Jenny Dobson of Summerside began his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) career in 2016 wearing No. 53 with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in honour of his mother’s late father, Dave LeBlanc.
“When I got drafted by Bathurst they asked me what number I wanted and up until that date I didn’t really have a set number,” explained Noah, a first-round draft choice of the New York Islanders in the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft. “My grandfather, who is from Bathurst, passed away at age 53 from MS and my dad and I came up with the idea it would be a nice way to honour him, especially playing in the city where he is from and grew up.
“With my grandmother (Betty Ann LeBlanc) there, too, it was special for her when she watched me play.”
Jenny was also approached about Noah’s desire to select No. 53 after the Titan selected him sixth overall in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft.
“He asked me how old my dad was when he passed away and chose that number,” said Jenny. “My dad was a huge sports fan so we like to think he is always with Noah and Saturday’s game just happened to be his 15-year anniversary.
“My dad didn’t get to see our kids (Noah and his 16-year-old sister, Elly, an elite soccer player) grow up, so it’s a nice way to remember him when Noah is on the ice.”
But the connection did not stop there. Noah, who was traded by the rebuilding Titan to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in early January, won his second straight President Cup in Halifax, N.S., on May 11. The defenceman was named playoff most valuable player after registering 29 points in 20 games.
“It worked out with the anniversary of his death being on Saturday and we got to win another championship,” said Noah. “It was kind of cool last year in the finals, the anniversary of his death was actually Game 5 in Blainville, and I ended up scoring the game-winning goal in the third period.
“It’s kind of cool how things like that work out.”
Andrew, who is also from Bathurst, described his father-in-law as “a really avid sportsman” who loved all sports.
“He loved playing ProLine on football, hockey and was a golfer,” said Andrew. “He and a buddy always came to the Island in the fall and golfed.
“He worked at the mines most of his life, in the time I knew him anyway. He was a hard-working blue-collar type of guy with a heart of gold, too. He was a very sincere and caring guy and would give you the shirt off his back.”
Noah also receives strong support from Andrew’s parents, Ken and Marina Dobson, who he lived with during his 2 ½ years with the Titan.
“They have been very, very supportive and are very proud as well,” said Andrew, who noted the entire family is proud of Noah’s accomplishments.
“At the end of the day, the biggest thing we are proud of is Noah’s character,” continued Andrew. “He’s a very sincere, down-to-earth individual and is very humble. He’s not one to wave the flag, look at me.
“He lets his actions speak for themselves. He’s similar to his grandfather that way where’s he’s a sincere, quiet and humble kind of guy.”