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YOUNG GOALIE – 18 year old Cole Webber has signed with the Fox Creek Ice Kings of the GMHL.

Indigenous Dawson City goalie signs with Junior A team

Cole Webber, 18, of Dawson City, Yukon has been signed by the Fox Creek Ice Kings. He previously played in Ontario for the Midland Flyers of the PJCHL during the 2019-2020 season.

By Morris Prokop on September 29, 2021

Cole Webber, 18, of Dawson City, Yukon has been signed by the Fox Creek Ice Kings. He previously played in Ontario for the Midland Flyers of the PJCHL during the 2019-2020 season.

The Ice Kings, located in Alberta, play in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL). The Ice Kings are playing two games this weekend to open their season. Webber is getting the start in the first game against the Enoch Cree Nation, with another goalie playing the second game on the weekend.

“At the start of the season, that’s how it goes,” says Webber. “Once you figure out which goalie is better for your team, you start going with him more. There’s obviously going to be a fight for it, because it’s just the mentality. You have to want that starting position.”

As for how Webber sees the competition in goal, “it’s pretty strong from what I’ve seen. That’s good though, because I’m really excited by that. I like it when it’s a really fast-paced and high-intensity game.”

They have already played an exhibition game against a team of local ex-junior and ex-WHL players. Webber played about half the game.

“I was a little weak at the start,” relates Webber. After getting comfortable in there, I got really confident, and started playing the puck better. I was playing good.”

So what made him decide to become a goalie?

“My dad was a goalie. But not only that, I was asking to be put in that position when I was really young. And then when I finally got the opportunity, I just really liked it, and seeing everything on the ice in front of me. It was really cool. It was surreal. So I just decided to stay with it.”

Webber started playing goal when he was seven years old.

“I’ve had lots of practice. Seen a lot of ice.”

Webber explains how he ended up signing with the Ice Kings.

“I was playing Junior C in Ontario … a couple of years ago and I really wanted to pursue my hockey dream, so I decided ‘why not look for another team?’ And then last year with COVID and everything, it was pretty hard, so I just played house league in Dawson. But this year I saw that they needed players, and I got the opportunity to call the coach and then try out, and he really liked what he seen, so he decided to sign me. It’s going really good right now.”

Like any goalie, Webber wants to be the starter.

“I definitely have a shot at starting. He told me at the start of the year, ‘cause you’re supposed to sign four goalies, but he told me if he signs me, he’ll only sign three, so that cuts one goalie out of the mix. And then he told me I’m starting on Saturday.”

Webber feels he has a few strengths.

“I’d say I’m pretty strong at covering most of the net, and keeping really good positioning while I’m in there, so there’s not much of the net to be seen when I’m in net.

“Mentally I feel I’ve gotten a lot better and last year at Dawson City with the house league there, that helped me a lot, ‘cause I kind of got rid of this thing where I felt nervous and now it’s just like I’m more confident and I feel like every time I go in there, that’s my puck. I’ve been working a lot on it.”

Like any young goalie, he also has a few things to work on.

I definitely need to work on my blocker hand more, and up high right side, and I’m still getting used to breakouts with like two on none and two on ones, three on ones … but every goalie needs to work on that. It’s just a part of the game.”

As for influences in his life, Webber has a few.

“I’ve had quite a few coaches in Dawson that have helped me a lot to figure out where I want to be and what I want to do in hockey.”

Dave Ezzerd was one of the coaches who helped Webber find his way.

“I was really young when he was coaching me so he kind of helped me a lot, figure out that I wanted to be goalie more, and he was putting me in that position a lot more because the team did really rely on me, because there wasn’t many goalies in Dawson at the time, so that also kind of pushed me more to go in that position.”

Paxton Schulte also helped Webber.

“When I moved to Onaway (Alberta), he was one of the first – he wasn’t a coach on my team, but he saw that I needed help, and what I needed to work on, so he pulled me out to his camp, which he had every week and that really helped me out a lot, ‘cause he’d have goalie coaches there and they’d find out what you needed to work on, and they’d give you that like, education.”

Webber hasn’t had much of an opportunity to work with goalie coaches.

“No, not a lot. I don’t even have a goalie coach on my team right now. But my dad has definitely coached me a lot growing up and once I got to a certain age, he couldn’t really help too much. But that’s where Paxton came in. And he had his goalie coaches come and help me.”

Webber’s dad played goal in Junior C, a couple of exhibition games in Junior A in the OHL, and some college hockey.

Webber, a member of the Trondek Hwech’in First Nation, considers himself an Indigenous role model.

“I do, personally. I feel the kids in the community, especially Dawson, should look to strive – and even if they have to leave home to do it, they should definitely pursue their dreams when they have to.

“And sticking to school. That’s a big part of it. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t stay in school.”

Webber says he wants to continue with his schooling.

“A big part of me playing on this team is I want to continue going to school if I get the opportunity to.”

Webber is realistic about his future goals.

“My dream has always been to make the NHL, but realistically speaking, I know that doesn’t always happen. If the furthest I can make it is like the European league, then I’m fine with that. But like, I really want to make the NHL and I told my coach at the start of the season my goal is to make the next level. It’s a ladder. I gotta keep movin’ up.”

Webber can see himself playing in the American Hockey League as well.

“Definitely. That’s where a lot of goalies start out. Like (Marc-Andre) Fleury, he was drafted to the NHL, but that’s only one out of every 300 goalies, 400 goalies that are drafted.”

But for Webber, the future starts now.

“I’m looking very forward to this season and every other season that comes with it.”

Webber’s current coach, Andre Payette, says the young net-minder made an instant impression on him.

“Cole gave me a call and asked if I’d have a look at him and he came to practice and you know what? He competes very very hard. Last year there wasn’t very much hockey going on, but even on the ice for the first time, for a goalie, he battles to see the puck, and he tries very very hard and he competes. So for me, if a guy’s gonna work hard, and he’s gonna compete, he’s gonna get better. I really like his attitude, and I like his effort levels. So I’m very happy to have him on my team this year.”

Comments (2)

Up 2 Down 1

Ken Dryden on Oct 5, 2021 at 5:04 pm

Congratulations Cole you've come a long ways already with an opportunity to go much further. I believe Dryden was #29 and he had a similar stance to yours.

Up 3 Down 1

Dennis on Oct 3, 2021 at 2:49 pm

Good luck young man. You are on the way. Stay in school and keep your nose clean. Always be a Gentleman and ignore rude and stupid rude remarks directed to you.

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