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Alberni Valley Bulldogs player profile: Hobie Hedquist

After the 2021 Pod Season, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs replaced departing netminder Luke Pearson by signing Hobie Hedquist from the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League.

During the 2021-22 season, Hedquist was outstanding. He helped backstop the Bulldogs to first place in the Coastal Conference. However, in the playoffs, Alberni Valley was defeated by Langley in the second round.

After their playoff exit, everyone expected Hedquist to start his NCAA career at the University of North Dakota. He was originally committed to the Fighting Hawks for 2022-23 but instead, Hedquist announced in July that he will return to the Bulldogs for one more season.

Getting Hedquist back for one more season is huge for Alberni Valley. With him between the pipes, the Bulldogs were one of the best teams in the BCHL.

This article is about Hedquist’s path to Alberni Valley. I’ll cover the teams he played for before coming to Alberni Valley, but before that, let’s touch on the Bulldogs’ current goaltending situation.

The current goaltending situation

Before Hedquist announced his return, the Bulldogs recruited Callum Tung from the Port Alberni Bombers in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He was one of two players the Bulldogs recruited from the Bombers.

During the 2021-22 season, the Bulldogs signed Hayden Dunford from the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Caledonia Corvairs. He served as the backup goalie to Hedquist.

Dunford is a 20-year-old player entering his final season of junior hockey and in August, the Bulldogs traded him to the Merritt Centennials for future considerations.

In his one season with the Bombers, Tung was key to their success after backstopping them to 10 of their 19 regular season wins. In the playoffs, he led Port Alberni against the Campbell River Storm as the VIJHL first-round series went to seven games.

Going forward, it looks like Hedquist and Tung will form the goaltending tandem for the Bulldogs in 2022-23. After Hedquist departs the Bulldogs at the end of the coming season, Tung looks to have every opportunity to become Alberni Valley’s number one goalie.

Hedquist’s path to Port Alberni

Hedquist was with the Minnesota Bruins AAA in 2017-18, getting into 13 games for the U15 team. That same season, he joined the Sioux Falls Stampede hockey program, suiting up for the 16U AAA squad of the North American Prospects Hockey League.

Before the 2018-19 season, the Stampede renamed itself the Sioux Falls Power hockey program. For two seasons, Hedquist played a total of 12 regular season games and six playoff games for the Power.

In the 2019-20 season, Hedquist made his US Hockey League debut as an affiliate player for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and played one game. The following season, Hedquist played 21 games for the Saints, posting a 4.45 goals-against average, an .831 to go along with a 4-9-1 record. In the playoffs, Hedquist played 10 games.

In July 2021, the Bulldogs signed Hedquist from the Saints and he assumed their starting goaltending position from Luke Pearson.

The Bulldogs finished 2021-22 with a 35-15-4 record and Hedquist backstopped 28 of their 35 wins. Like McCoy Bidewell in Cowichan Valley, Hedquist was a big key to the Alberni Valley’s success last season. He helped propel the Dogs to top spot in the Coastal Conference and keeping him for his 19-year-old season is huge.

The Heron Lake, MN was ranked 27th among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting for the 2022 NHL Draft but didn’t have his name called during July’s proceedings. Hedquist did attend the Minnesota Wild’s development camp as an undrafted invitee earlier this summer though.

The off-season saw several goalies age out of the league. Penticton’s Kaeden Lane and Nanaimo’s Cooper Black will attend NCAA schools to start their college careers. Same with Prince George’s Aaron Trotter and Salmon Arm’s Owen Say. Based on his trajectory so far, Hedquist has the chance to become the top goalie in the BC Hockey League this season.