NHL Hockey: Shea Weber
Mention the top five defenseman playing professional hockey today and Shea Weber’s name will come up every time.
The 26-year-old B.C. native has established himself as a premiere NHL defenseman and a stalwart representative for his country every time Canada goes for international glory.
Weber was born and raised in Sicamous, British Columbia.
He played a bit of forward before settling into his role as a defender after his father suggested it would give him a better shot of making the pros.
Weber wasn’t always viewed as a blue-chip prospect. He went unselected in his Western Hockey League Bantam draft before the Kelowna Rockets took a chance on him.
In his early WHL days, he the 6’2” bruiser made a name for himself with his fists, racking up fighting majors. Eventually, though, he became a complete player, showing devastating checking ability and a blazing shot.
At the 2005 World Junior Championships he formed a dynamite tandem with Dion Phaneuf and helped Canada win its first gold medal in eight years.
Weber was drafted by the NHL’s Nashville Predators in the second round in 2003. He made his debut with the Preds in 2005-06 after the lockout.
Nashville couldn’t keep him in the minors any longer after he tore up the AHL, scoring more than a point per game.
Since making the NHL, Weber hasn’t looked back. He’s now a two-time All-Star; he set a career high with 23 goals in the 2008-09 season; his slapshot flirts with Zdeno Chara’s as the hardest in hockey, regularly topping 100 miles per hour; and he’s widely regarded as one of the game’s best at his position.
Weber was standout for Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, tallying six points in seven games and playing a crucial role in his country’s gold-medal triumph.
He has a taste for accolades now. Next up could be the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman; Weber finished second to Nicklas Lidstrom in voting last season.
After that, Weber will try to lead the emerging Nashville Predators to a Stanley Cup. If his success so far is any indication, that just might happen.