MONTREAL – These days, Dale Weise has every reason in the world to be smiling bright.
|Dale Weise with his son, Hunter, and newborn daughter, Jordanna, at a local hospital in Winnipeg. |
After stringing together a career year with the CH, the 27-year-old returned home to Winnipeg to enjoy what can only be described as an unforgettable summer. Not only did the five-year NHL veteran and his wife, Lauren, welcome their second child, Jordanna, back on June 10, but the couple also purchased and recently took possession of a brand new house in the Manitoban capital, too.
“It’s been great. Busy, but great. We had our little guy, Hunter, back in September 2013. I think every guy wants a little boy, that son to play hockey with and stuff like that – which he already does quite a bit. But, having a girl is such a different feeling. I’m pretty excited to have one of each. It’s pretty cool. We were actually doing a walk-through of our new house when Lauren went into labor. I guess that was a good sign we were in a right spot,” offered Weise, who spent the majority of the offseason on home turf enjoying fatherhood the second time around. “We went straight to the hospital and before we knew it, she was here. She was healthy. She’s a big girl. It’s been pretty amazing ever since.”
While Hunter might still be very young, Weise admits that he’s already enjoying playing the role of big brother, taking advantage of every opportunity to spend quality time with Jordanna day and night.
“We just kind of talked to him while Lauren was pregnant to get him ready. When he was playing with his toys, we’d use the word ‘baby’ every so often around him. He kind of understood a little bit. He’s pretty gentle with her. He wants to hold her and kiss her all the time. For a little guy, it’s been amazing to see just how good he’s been,” shared Weise, who is clearly enjoying the interaction between the two youngsters since Jordanna’s arrival nearly three months ago. “I’ll say this, though. She’s a lot louder than Hunter at that age. She’s got some pipes on her. When she first came home, you could probably hear her all the way down the block. But, she’s starting to get a little better now. It’s all part of it. I know what to expect this time.”
In between caring for his newborn, kicking back with Hunter and organizing a move, the former fourth-round selection has been training hard in preparation for the 2015-16 campaign, gearing up for his second full season with the CH.
“I’d say I got back to work pretty quickly. I got home a few days after the season came to an end, and I was probably back in the gym on June 1st. I was pretty healthy throughout the year, so I just wanted to maintain and keep my strength up. I wanted to get back at it right away. I think as I get older, I’m getting smarter with the way I train. It’s all about being able to move. Any hockey player has trouble with tight hips and groin stuff, so I’ve been doing a lot more stretching, yoga and foam-roll exercises just to keep my body loose,” mentioned Weise, who has also made other notable changes to his off-ice training regimen in recent years. “I’ve also got a gym in the garage at my cabin on the lake. I do a lot of work there, like running and sprinting. There are a lot of gravel roads and hills that I can train on to keep things exciting over the summer. I’ve been swimming a lot, too. I’ve found that it’s great for shoulder mobility. Knock on wood, I haven’t had any issues with my shoulder like I did in the past, so maybe swimming is paying off.”
|Weise spent a significant amount of time training at his cabin this summer. He even has a gym in his garage. |
On the ice, Weise stayed true to a summer program that played an integral part in his being able to compile a career-high 10 goals, 29 points and a plus-21 differential in 79 regular season games, before coming up clutch once again in the playoffs by scoring both the game-tying marker and the overtime winner against the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
“Working out at The RINK with [skills coach] Dave Cameron has been huge. He’s been incredible for me. I’ve worked with him for two years now. The way I shoot, the way I handle the puck, getting the release off quickly, I’ve done so much with him. I can’t say enough good things about his methods. This summer, we started off by focusing on a lot of stuff we’d done in the past – in-tight hands and in-tight scoring – and just trying to build on it as my skills got better and better,” explained Weise, who paid particular attention to one area of his game during his sessions with Cameron back home. “We did a lot of shooting. In one 50-minute skate with Dave, I probably shot the puck as many times as I would in four or five practices combined. I want to shoot more pucks this year. I think that’s my biggest thing. You’ve got to train your mind if you want to be a shooter. It doesn’t just happen. I was shooting off my right foot, shooting off my left foot, and spinning off a guy and shooting. I focused on all the little scoring plays that hopefully are going to help me going forward.”
Confident in his preparation over the last 90 days, Weise has high hopes for himself this year. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given his remarkable play since joining Michel Therrien’s troops back in February 2014, especially his unique ability to thrive alongside different playing partners up and down the lineup.
“When you put the work in and you dedicate yourself over the summer, I think that good things are going to happen for you. That’s the way I’ve always lived. The quote – ‘Success happens when preparation meets opportunity’ – really stands out to me. That’s the way I go about things. I’m extremely proud of the stats I had last year. I had the opportunity to play with some great players, and I was playing a lot more than I did in the past. I’m hoping for the same things this year,” confided Weise, who logged 12:11 of ice time per game during the regular season, before averaging 12:31 of playing time in 12 postseason contests. “I’ve never really been a guy to say – ‘I’m going to score this many goals and pick up this many points’ – but, when you put in the time and do the work, I believe that the points are going to come. Individually, this is a big year for me. I’m just hoping to build on what I did last year.”
|Weise is looking forward to what he hopes will be another productive year in Montreal. |
And, that’s exactly what Weise expects of the Canadiens as a group as well.
“I’m one of the biggest believers in this team. When it comes to our core group, we didn’t change anything [from last year]. Losing a guy like Brandon Prust is big. He was an important part of our dressing room. But, we’re still the same core. Obviously, things start with Carey. Anybody who thinks he can’t do exactly what he did last year is out of their mind. The guy is as good as it gets every single day. When you have a guy like that leading the group, good things are going to happen. On defense, we’re as good as anybody, and I really like our forward group. You hear people say that we can’t score goals, but we don’t believe that. We believe in the way we play. We believe in our system. We were second in the NHL in points last year, and I expect us to be right there again,” concluded Weise, who is chomping at the bit to get things started for real on October 7th in Toronto. “We want to win in here as bad as anybody. We’re all pulling in the same direction for the same goal. I think that’s what will lead us to success down the road.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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