Team Teal officially welcomes Prince Albert Raiders forward Wiesblatt to the organization.
After a chaotic period in which the NHL worked to adjust the immediate upcoming schedule, the draft has finally arrived. As a result, the Sharks take a promising 18-year old right-winger that has the chance to be a core player soon.
At 5’10” and 183 lbs, Wiesblatt is slightly undersized, but he makes up for it in speed and agility.
The Calgary native put up an impressive 70 points (25 G, 45 A) for the Prince Albert Raiders through 64-games.
When the Sharks announced the selection, Director of Scouting Doug Wilson Jr. paid homage to Wiesblatt’s family by initially announcing the selection in American sign language.
The new selection’s mother is deaf, and as a result, sign language is an important part of his life.
Following the announcement, several sharks made sure to welcome the rookie in a video conversation.
The first being the light-hearted and quick-witted fan-favorite Brent Burns. The defenseman quickly broke the ice, joking about the post-draft press conferences.
“Ozzy we gotta make sure that these media guys aren’t taking too much of your time here and you’re still training hard,” Burns said.
Logan Couture spoke with Wiesblatt next, and the captain expressed his appreciation for Wiesblatt’s journey.
“I saw the special that Sportsnet did on your family and it was super cool man. Your mom seems like an angel,” Couture said.
For those who have not seen the Sportsnet feature, it is an extremely moving story that all Sharks fans should check out. It gives a deeper understanding of Ozzy’s connection with hockey and its relation to his family’s history.
After the rookie spoke with Couture, Swedish defenseman Erik Karlsson joined the call and congratulated the newest Shark.
“Getting drafted is special… especially in the first round… it shows that you’ve got something other people don’t. A lot of people believe in you and I am happy that we were the team able to select you,” Karlsson said.
24-year old forward Kevin Labanc was the last Shark to join the call and congratulate Ozzy.
“It was a unique draft but you know you and your family worked hard to get you to where you are today. Congrats… I look forward to seeing you at camp,” Labanc said.
As Wiesblatt spoke about his excitement joining the team, he brought up his friend and new teammate, Noah Gregor.
“[I get to play] with my friend Noah Gregor… I really couldn’t have asked for a better place to end up,” Weisblatt said.
The feel-good story rookie joins a Sharks organization looking to re-establish themselves as a perennial playoff team. The young Canadian knows a little something about championship-caliber hockey, contributing to one of the most dominant WHL teams in the last two seasons.
The two seasons where Weisblatt played over 60+ games Prince Albert showcased the best hockey in the WHL.
In his first season as a lineup regular (2018-2019), the Raiders won the WHL championship. The following season (2019-2020), the team was the overwhelming favorite for the championship before the season was abruptly canceled due to COVID-19.
It will be exciting to see how Wiesblatt contributes to the team moving forward.