WHL Next Generation is a 22-part series highlighting a handful of the future stars of the Western Hockey League. From first-round bantam draft picks to later-blooming selections, get to know the names of players set to establish themselves as the newest crop of exciting talent to grace the WHL. From August 1 through August 31, get the inside scoop on the incoming rookie class of 2019-20.
Team: Red Deer Rebels
Weight: 180 pounds
Draft: RD (2018) Round: 1 (#7)
Patience is a virtue. It’s a phrase young hockey players will continue to hear over and over as they go through their careers and life. While it may be frustrating to hear during the time, it rings true more often than not. For Jayden Grubbe, it was an expression he often heard many times this past season, but as said, it does pay off in the end.
Beginning his first year of midget-level hockey with the Calgary Buffaloes and fresh off of the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft as the seventh overall selection, Grubbe was ready to step up to the challenge of older, stronger, faster players, but it didn’t go the way he had planned.
“For me, I kind of started the season off a little slower than I would’ve liked to,” Grubbe said. “I had a few troubles getting goals throughout the season and points, but I still played through it.”His last statement, “I still played through it,” rings true to the determination and dedication you have to have when faced with offensive challenges. Every player goes through it more often than once in their careers and it’s important to learn how to handle it.
But with patience, usually comes a reward. For Grubbe, it was a pretty sweet one.
“In playoffs, I really started to get going and it helped the team out a lot,” the Calgary, Alta. product said.
Grubbe and the Buffaloes’ success broke out in post-season play, winning the Alberta Midget Hockey League Championship and advancing to the Pacific Regional Championship. It was there that he struck gold.
“I had two goals in that game [series final] and the first one was the exact same as my over-time goal with the same linemates so after that went in, it was kind of a blur and I don’t really remember anything else other than being excited,” Grubbe said about his over-time winning goal against the Cariboo Cougars.While the Buffaloes advanced on to the TELUS Cup, Canada’s National Midget Hockey Championship, and placed fourth overall in the tournament, it was an incredible season for Grubbe that started off rough and finished extremely successful.
“I think it helped me realize how I have to play the whole season, not just in playoffs,” Grubbe said. “If I want to make it with the Rebels, I really need to play like I did in playoffs and do my best. That realization has prepared me a lot.”With Grubbe in Red Deer, Alta. for training camp this week, he knows that his work ethic will be the driving force behind whether or not he makes the Rebels’ roster for the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season. If he does make it, patience will continue to play a role in Grubbe’s game as he learns how to handle new challenges in the league. Although there may be challenges, Grubbe also sees them as learning opportunities to continue growing his game.
“I just hope to develop as much as I can,” Grubbe said. “I think it will be a really good opportunity for me to play on a young team and I can get a lot better for sure.”