The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the BCHL, are proud to announce that second year forward Jasper Weatherby has solidified his commitment to play Division I college hockey for the University of North Dakota beginning in Fall 2018.
The game of hockey snuck up on Weatherby at a young age. “My best friend was going to learn to play hockey, and his parents invited me to come along. From the first time I stepped on the ice I just fell in love with the sport.” Before long, he found himself far from his west coast home, playing in Omaha. It was there his career was stalled, as an early season broken leg robbed him of a big chunk of the season in 2014-15. “I think the biggest thing to stay sharp was just being around hockey, from watching it, to being with my teammates on a day to day basis”, he recalls. “Another important part was to stay focused on my rehab and my goal to be back on the ice as soon as possible. I was back on the ice by mid-December and playing with the team on the road to a league championship and a spot at Nationals.”
Moving up to juniors brings a unique set of challenges. “I think the biggest adjustment to junior hockey was the speed of game. Hockey is getting faster and faster and being able to make plays quickly and under pressure is really important and took some time to get used to.” The reputation of the Wild was part of what attracted him to Wenatchee, and he’s made the most of it. After playing a supporting role last season on a veteran-laden roster, he’s emerged as a leader this season and leads the team in scoring.
While his play and accompanying success attracted the attention of multiple Division I schools, North Dakota was the clear choice for Weatherby. “I was looking for place where players can succeed in the classroom and on the ice. North Dakota’s commitment to develop their players and give them every opportunity to succeed at the college level and beyond is second to none. Hearing about the incredible coaches and facilities is one thing but it’s another thing to walk into the arena and experience it firsthand. As soon as I set foot on campus, toured the facilities, met with the players and coaches, I knew it was the place for me. The education is top notch and the opportunity to play at the highest collegiate level and get a great degree was something I had always dreamed about.” Upon arrival, he will begin his pursuit of a business degree. Getting the commitment secured has been a bit of a relief, but he’s determined to stay sharp. “It’s definitely a good feeling but what’s important is to keep developing and to not get complacent. The goal is still the same and that’s to bring a championship back to Wenatchee at the end of the year.” At some point when his playing days wind down, he expects to be ready. “I’d love to start or run a company and having a solid degree from the University of North Dakota is a great first step.” He’s grateful to his family for their tremendous support, and also the coaches who’ve provided direction and guidance along the way.
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks men’s hockey team competes in the NCHC and skates in the 11,634 seat Ralph Englestad Arena in Grand Forks, ND. He is the ninth player on this year’s Wild roster with a Division I commitment, joining Sam Morton (Union), AJ Vanderbeck (Ohio State), Slava Demin (Denver), Jacob Modry (Rensselaer Polytechnic), Chad Sasaki (Colorado College), Brady Bjork (Notre Dame), Sam Hesler (Dartmouth), and Cooper Zech (Ferris State). He becomes the second Wild player to commit to UND, following Michael Di Puma.