Brandon Valley IceCats goalie Joe Weber turns 15 at the end of May.
Don’t let that number fool you.
Weber has aspirations of taking his hockey talents all the way to the NHL. That may sound a bit lofty for a player who just completed the ninth grade and who hasn’t played a second of junior varsity hockey for the IceCats.
But he’s clearly got the attention at the next level as Weber recently signed with the Toronto Predators of the independent Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League.
He’ll be one of the youngest players on the Predators, who field two teams in the league. The first team is for younger players, and the second has players as old as 21 on the roster. Morgan’s father and bantam coach for the IceCats, Chris, said his son has the talent to compete at either level in Toronto and is hoping he can make the squad that includes players in their 20s.
“He wants to go as far as he can,” Chris Weber said. “Obviously the NHL is the top of it all, but right now his goal is to play juniors, and we’re working the process.”
Weber started skating at age 2 and began playing for the Sioux Falls Flyers organization in 2010. He moved to the Brandon Valley program two years ago when the IceCats were formed, and he’s clearly found a groove.
He led the IceCats to the South Dakota bantam state title this year while recording a percent save percentage in the tournament. In 21 regular season games played last season, Weber was 10-0 with 157 saves and a .920 save percentage.
“I’m excited, but I know it’s going to be a tough experience the first year,” Weber said. “There’s a lot to it, but I can’t wait.”
He won’t have to wait long as the incoming high school sophomore at Sioux Falls Roosevelt heads to Toronto in September. He’s not scheduled to be back until April 2021, so schooling next year will most likely be done online in between slapping pucks away on the ice.
Sending your 15-year old to another country for eight months to play a sport may seem a bit overwhelming, but for Chris, he said he understands his son’s passion to take hockey as far as he can.
“This is what he wants and this is what he needs. I’m willing to let him do what he wants for this,” Chris said. “I never had that opportunity. I played hockey growing up, but we didn’t have the technology to do recruiting the way they do now.”
Chris is also working a second job this summer with a private contractor in hopes of having his son’s trip paid for before September. Joe will be staying with a host family in Toronto, but there are other expenses that the family has to cover. Chris said he’s done everything from siding houses to caulking and painting at night and on the weekends to help make the trip a reality.
Joe has his sights set on playing collegiately at Boston University, an NCAA hockey powerhouse each year. The Terriers have won five national titles, most recently as 2009.
With the Toronto signing, he seems to be well on his way. He’ll be in Boston later this summer for a goalie camp with players from the USHL, the National American Hockey League, and other college players from Boston University.
“He’s got a busy summer, but this is what he wants,” Chris said.
Read or Share this story: https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/brandon/2020/05/22/icecats-goalie-signs-junior-team-toronto/5226413002/