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Noah Dobson is in some rare company.
It is believed he is the first Islander to win the Memorial Cup twice. The list of Islanders who have raised the Canadian Hockey League’s top trophy once includes Brad Richards, Brandon Gormley, Billy MacMillan and Kevin Devine.
“That’s pretty special. Those are all great players,” Dobson said.
“Moving away from home, you want to represent where you’re from. I take a lot of pride being from P.E.I. It’s really special to be part of that history of players that have won the Memorial Cup from the Island.”
The 19-year-old Summerside native, who was drafted 12th overall by the NHL’s New York Islanders in 2018, accomplished the feat of back-to-back championships Sunday when his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defeated the host Mooseheads 4-2 in Halifax. A year earlier Dobson won his first title with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in Regina.
Dobson played an integral part in both championship runs and was selected to the all-star team each year. Yet, he deflects credit for the achievement, saying he has been fortunate to have played with an unbelievable group of players as well as for talented coaching and support staffs.
“It's very special to be a two-time Memorial Cup champ.”
Devine said winning one Canadian Hockey League (CHL) championship is special, but to be able to do it twice, in a three-year career like Dobson, is remarkable.
“It’s harder to win a Memorial Cup actually than it is probably to win a Stanley Cup,” Devine said
The CHL is comprised of 60 teams while the NHL has 31. Most junior careers can only last five seasons while athletes can play longer in the NHL, giving them more cracks at hockey’s top prize.
“The year we won we had a fantastic team,” Devine said of the 1973 Toronto Marlboros. “We only lost seven games the whole year, but yet we came very close in the (Ontario Hockey Association) final to losing out to Peterborough.”
Devine, who has worked with the Buffalo Sabres organization for 20 years and is currently a scout for the organization, said he saw Richards carry the Rimouski Oceanic to victory the last time the tournament was hosted in Halifax in 2000.
He said Dobson had a big influence as a draft-eligible player for the Titan a year ago. This year he saw him after the trade to the Huskies and noted he was the best player on the ice. The smart, two-way defender also has the ability to raise his game to another level.
“He plays his best when his team gets behind,” Devine said. “He’s a pretty impressive guy.”
While everyone can see Dobson’s skating ability and intelligence on the ice, another trait that comes up often in discussions about the youngster is how humble he is. Dobson said he and his sister, Elly, were both raised well by their parents, Jenny and Andrew. Dobson said he remembers his father speaking about the importance of a player’s character.
“That’s how people are going to remember you,” Noah recalled Andrew saying. “You always have to be down-to-earth and thankful for everything.”
Many people believe Dobson has played his final junior game, having little to gain from returning for a fourth season.
Dobson, himself, knows there’s only two scenarios: play in the NHL or back in junior. While not having direct control over the final decision, he’s planning on making it awfully hard on those in New York to send him back.
“It would be nice to make the jump next year, but obviously I’m not going to (get) ahead of myself,” he said.
“As a player I thought I did a lot of good things, (and) my game has improved over the last year, to put myself in the best position possible to try and play in the NHL next year. . . Now I think it just comes down to the summer.”
He will train with Kris MacPhee at Synergy Fitness in Charlottetown and work on getting bigger and stronger.
A list of Islanders who have won the Memorial Cup, the Canadian Hockey League’s top prize.
2019 – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
D Noah Dobson
2018 – Acadie-Bathurst Titan
D Noah Dobson
2013 – Halifax Mooseheads
F Brent Andrews
F Darcy Ashley
2012 – Shawinigan Cataractes
D Morgan Ellis
D Brandon Gormley
2011 – Saint John Sea Dogs
F Jason Cameron
D Spencer MacDonald
Coach Gerard (Turk) Gallant
Assistant coach Mike Kelly
2000 – Rimouski Oceanic
F Thatcher Bell
F Brad Richards
1973 – Toronto Marlboros
F Kevin Devine
D John Hughes
1961 – St. Michael’s Majors
F Bill MacMillan
1953 – Barrie Flyers
F Orin Carver
Editor’s note – This is a list compiled by The Guardian. We have checked with a number of sources but if we have missed someone, please let us know by emailing email@example.com.
Need to know
The Memorial Cup has been played since 1919. It was presented in commemoration of the Canadian hockey players who died during the First World War.
Teams that have won it three times:
Cornwall Royals 1972, 1980, 1981.
Kamloops Blazers 1992, 1994, 1995.
Windsor Spitfires 2009, 2010, 2017.
Four players have won it three times
Ryan Huska, Tyson Nash and Darcy Tucker played for Kamloops in 1992, 1994 and 1995.
Robert Savard played for Cornwall in 1980 and 1981 plus Kitchener in 1982.
Following are how many championships teams from the three regional leagues have won since the round-robin format was instituted 48 years ago:
Western – 19
Ontario – 17
Quebec – 12
Playing closer to home – Of the 12 championships won by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League since 1972, five were hosted by league teams. The winners were: Rouyn-Noranda in 2019 in Halifax, Shawinigan in 2012 when it hosted, Quebec in 2006 in Moncton, Rimouski in 2000 in Halifax and Hull in 1997 when it hosted.