Rockets’ rookie forward Nick Hoobanoff wears Alexander Ovechkin’s number 8, so it is not surprising that he models his game after the Washington Capitals’ superstar.
“I’ve always looked up to him since he came into the league. He’s a really good player, fast, big and grinds it out too,” said Hoobanoff.
Hoobanoff has 2 goals and 3 assists in 9 games this season, his first full year at the Junior B level after playing Midget AA in Cranbrook last year. Despite the fact that he’s now playing at a higher level, Hoobanoff doesn’t feel that the adjustment has been that difficult.
“I’d say the biggest difference is just having less time with the puck. You’ve got to make your passes a bit crisper and your decisions a bit quicker, but it’s easy enough to adjust,” said Hoobanoff.
According to Hoobanoff veteran players Connor Beauchemin and Brett DeFrias have helped him along, in addition to head coach Ty Davidson. Hoobanoff describes himself as a grinder first and a scorer second.
“I like to work hard in the corners and just help my team win rather than try and get points,” he said.
The 16 year old from Canal Flats is hoping that he can improve his speed this season and get bigger. The latter, he joked, is unfortunately out of his control.
Despite the team’s slow start to the season, Hoobanoff is hopeful that they can turn their year around soon.
“We’re definitely starting out a bit shaky but I know the boys are going to be really good and we’re definitely going to have a good season,” he said.