Shea Weber

Shea Michael Weber (born August 14, 1985) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman in the National Hockey League (NHL). An NHL All-Star and Olympic gold medalist, he has served as captain for the Nashville Predators since July 2010.

Drafted in the second round, 49th overall by the Predators in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Weber has spent his entire NHL career with the Predators. He had previously played for the Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Weber represented Canada at four International Ice Hockey Federation-sanctioned events, winning a World Junior Ice Hockey Championship gold medal in 2005, an Ice Hockey World Championships gold medal in 2007, and an Olympic gold medal in 2010.

Shea Weber.jpg

Weber was born on August 14, 1985 in Sicamous, British Columbia. His mother, Tracy, was a hairdresser, and his father, James Weber, a sawmill worker.[1][2] Weber first played organized ice hockey at the age of six.[2] Growing up he played in the Sicamous and District Minor Hockey Association, a division of the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association (BCAHA), often switching between forward and defenceman positions. In Weber’s second year of bantam, he permanently switched to defence. He credits his father for convincing him to make the switch because he thought Weber would “have a better shot at a pro career as a defenceman”.[1] Between the ages of fourteen and fifteen, Weber grew 5 inches, from 5-foot-9 (1.75 metres) to 6-foot-2 (1.87 metres).[2]

Playing career

[edit] Junior career

Weber went unselected in his Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft year, but was placed by the Kelowna Rockets on their protected players list during his second season of bantam.[1] At the end of the season, he moved up to junior “B” ice hockey with his hometown Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL). Weber’s 42 points in 47 games played helped his team to a near perfect season of 43–5–1–1, winning both the British Columbian Cyclone Taylor Cup KIJHL league championship and the Western Canadian Keystone Cup.[3] In the Keystone Cup championship game, Weber scored the Eagles’ first goal of the game in a 2–1 victory over the Spruce Grove Regals.[4] In addition to his championship run with the Eagles, Weber played in five games for the Kelowna Rockets during their 2001–02 WHL season.

The following season Weber began his rookie season with the Rockets. Early into the campaign, Weber established a physical presence, often fighting opposing players.[5] Overall he had 167 penalty minutes that season, the most in his entire playing career.[6] Offensively, Weber finished his rookie season with eighteen points in seventy games played. He also scored five points in nineteen playoff games as the Rockets won the franchise’s first Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions, defeating the Red Deer Rebels in the finals.[7] As WHL champions, the Rockets represented the WHL at the 2003 Memorial Cup in Kingston, Ontario, where they were defeated by the Hull Olympiques 2–1 in the semifinal game.[7][8] At the completion of his rookie WHL season, Weber was eligible to be drafted into the National Hockey League at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.[9] Heading into the draft, he was ranked 42nd among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, and 54th overall by International Scouting Services.[9] On June 21, 2003, Weber was drafted in the second round, 49th overall by the Nashville Predators.[10]

In his second season with the Rockets, Weber was named to the WHL roster for the 2004 ADT Canada-Russia Challenge in Red Deer and Lethbridge, Alberta.[11] In the two games that were played, he recorded one assist.[12] At the completion of the regular season, Weber had improved his offensive statistics from the previous season, recording 32 points in sixty games played. Weber was named the WHL player of the week for April 6–12, 2004, after recording one goal and six assists in four Kelowna wins over the Tri-City Americans as the Rockets eliminated the Americans four game to two in the Western Conference semifinals.[13] He finished the WHL playoffs with seventeen points in seventeen games as the Rockets were eliminated four games to three by the Everett Silvertips in the Western Conference finals. Despite being eliminated from the WHL playoffs, the Rockets advanced to their second consecutive Memorial Cup as the host team.[14] At the 2004 Memorial Cup, Weber was named to the tournament all-star team after recording four points in four games played as the Rockets defeated the Gatineau Olympiques 2–1 in the championship game to win their first Memorial Cup.[15] At the completion of the season, Weber was named to the WHL Western Conference’s second all-star team.[6]

Weber’s final season with the Rockets proved to be his best with the team, despite a late season injury. On March 5, 2005, he injured his left knee after colliding with Vancouver Giants left winger Cam Cunning.[16] The injury resulted in Weber missing the remainder of the regular season and the Rockets’ Western Conference quarterfinals series against the Vancouver Giants.[16][17] Despite the injury, Weber finished the regular season with WHL career bests for goals (12), assists (29), and points (41) in 55 games played. After returning from injury, Weber scored nine goals and seventeen points in eighteen playoff games as the Rockets won the Ed Chynoweth Cup en route to their third consecutive Memorial Cup. For his efforts, he was awarded the airBC Trophy as the most valuable player of the WHL playoffs.[17] At the 2005 Memorial Cup, with what was considered as one of the best tournament fields in Memorial Cup history, the Rockets were eliminated after losing all three of their round robin games.[18][19] At the completion of the season, Weber was named to the WHL Western Conference first all-star team and was the Western Conference nominee for the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the top defenceman in the WHL, although he ultimately lost the award to Dion Phaneuf.[20] He was also named to the Canadian Major Junior second all-star team.[21]

Nashville Predators

On September 10, 2004, Weber signed a three-year, $1.425-million entry level contract with the Nashville Predators.[22][23] A year and a half later, Weber made his NHL debut on January 6, 2006, versus the Detroit Red Wings, recording three shots on goal in 11:08 minutes of icetime.[24][25] Three months later, on April 6, 2006, he scored his first NHL goal against Reinhard Divis of the St. Louis Blues in a 3–0 Nashville victory.[26] Weber went on to play in 28 games during his rookie season, finishing with two goals and ten assists. He also scored two goals in four playoff games with the Predators before the team was eliminated in the first round by the San Jose Sharks.[6][27] With Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, still in playoff action, Weber was reassigned to the Admirals roster for the remainder of the AHL playoffs.[28] He compiled six goals and five assists in fourteen games during his time with the Admirals, who finished in second place in the Calder Cup, losing to the Hershey Bears in six games in the Calder Cup Finals.[6][29]

It was during his sophomore season that Weber evolved into one of Nashville’s most important players.[30] By the midpoint of the season Weber already had 26 points,[30] and his play was recognized on January 14, 2007, when he was named to the Western Conference roster for the 2007 NHL YoungStars Game in Dallas, Texas.[31] Weber went on to finish the season with forty points, finishing eighth on the Predators roster in total points.[6][32] He added an additional three assists in five playoff games before the Predators were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks for the second consecutive season.[6][33]

Weber’s third season with the Predators began with a series of injuries. After playing only 2:19 minutes of the first period in Nashville’s season opening game versus the Colorado Avalanche, Weber fell awkwardly and dislocated his kneecap.[34] The injury caused him to miss the next six weeks of play before returning to the Nashville lineup during a game with the St. Louis Blues on November 17, 2007.[35] Weber was sidelined again shortly thereafter, injuring his leg and missing another eleven games before he returned during a January 15, 2008 game versus the Calgary Flames.[36] Weber finished the season with 20 points in 54 games played. He received a single fifth-place vote to tie for 17th with seven other players in James Norris Memorial Trophy voting as the league’s best defenceman.[37]

Weber (right) in a fight with Andreas Lilja (left) of the Detroit Red Wings during the 2008–09 season.

On June 23, 2008, Weber signed a three-year, $13.5-million contract extension with the Predators, avoiding restricted free agency.[38] During his first year of the new contract, Weber established himself as one of the top defenceman in the NHL. At the mid-way point of the season, he was among the defencemen statistical leaders, was considered a favourite to win the Norris Trophy, and was named to the Western Conference roster for the 57th National Hockey League All-Star Game in Montreal, Quebec.[39][40] Weber finished the season with career-highs in all major statistical categories, including games played (81), goals (23), assists (30), points (53), and penalty minutes (80).[6] His 23 goals set a new Predators franchise record for goals by a defenceman in a single season.[41] Although he received no first-place votes, Weber finished fourth in the Norris Trophy voting with 186 voting points, behind winner Zdeno Chára (1,034 points), and runners-up Mike Green (982 points) and Nicklas Lidström (733 points).[42][43] Weber narrowly missed being named to the NHL Second All-Star Team after receiving four-first place votes and 172 voting points, a single voting point behind Dan Boyle, the final defenceman selected.[44]

Entering his fifth season with the Predators, Weber continued his stellar record. At the February Olympic break, Weber accumulated 35 points in 59 games for the Predators.[45] He also established a strong leadership role and willingness to defend his teammates, highlighted by three consecutive games in March 2010 in which he fought opposing players.[46] Weber’s offensive production slowed after the Olympic break and he finished the season with 43 points in 78 games played. Despite a decrease in offense from the previous season, Weber was a Norris Trophy candidate for the third consecutive year, receiving a single first place vote and 96 voting points to finish as the sixth runner-up behind winner Duncan Keith (1,096 points). Weber also received a single fifth-place vote, tying for 23rd with six other players in Hart Memorial Trophy voting, and was the seventh-ranked defenceman in NHL All-Star Team voting with 83 voting points.[47]

On July 8, 2010, Weber was named the fifth captain in Nashville Predators history, replacing Jason Arnott, who was traded to the New Jersey Devils.[48] He became the youngest captain in franchise history and the only Predators captain to have been drafted by the team.[49] On January 11, 2011, Weber was among 42 players named to the 58th National Hockey League All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina.[50] For the first time in its history, the NHL used a fantasy draft format to select teams for the All-Star Game, and Weber was selected eighth overall by Team Lidstrom.[51] At the game, Weber recorded four assists and was a +6, finishing the game tied with Loui Eriksson for most points and second to Nicklas Lidström for best plus/minus.[52] Shortly after his All-Star Game appearance, Weber recorded his 200th career NHL point—an assist—in a game versus the Detroit Red Wings on February 9, 2011.[53] During his sixth season with the Predators Weber averaged 25:19 in ice time, and set career highs in games played (82), assists (32), and shots on goal (25).[54] Weber also contributed three goals and five points in twelve playoff games as the Predators lost to the Vancouver Canucks after advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time in their history.[55] At the conclusion of the regular season, Weber was named one of three finalists—along with Zdeno Chára and Nicklas Lidström—for the Norris Trophy, the first finalist nomination of his career.[56] He finished second in Norris Trophy voting, losing with 727 voting points to Lidström’s 736.[57] Weber also finished 25th in Hart Memorial Trophy voting with two fifth-place votes.[57] For the first time in his career, Weber was voted to the NHL First All-Star Team after receiving 445 voting points, second in voting points among defencemen only behind Nicklas Lidström’s 464 voting points.[58] On July 1, 2011, Weber will again become a restricted free agent;[59] despite this, Weber has stated that he wants to remain with the Predators.[60] In order to prevent the possibility of other teams signing him to an offer sheet, the Predators filed for salary arbitration with Weber, giving the team and Weber until the salary arbitration hearing to negotiate a new contract.[61] Weber and Nashville went to Salary Arbitration on August 2. On August 3, It was announced Weber was awarded a one year contract for 7.5 Million dollars.

International play

Medal record

Shea Weber
Competitor for  Canada
Men’s ice hockey
Winter Olympic Games
Gold 2010 Vancouver
World Championships
Gold 2007 Moscow
Silver 2009 Bern
World Junior Championships
Gold 2005 Grand Forks

Through his career Weber has represented Canada at several international ice hockey tournaments. Weber’s first experience with Hockey Canada came for the national junior team, when, on December 22, 2004, he was named to the roster for the 2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Grand Forks, North Dakota.[62][63] There his play with Dion Phaneuf formed the team’s top defensive pair, helping Canada win its first junior gold medal since the 1997 tournament.[64] Despite being held pointless throughout the tournament, Weber finished tied for third among plus/minus leaders with a rating of +10.[65]

Weber debuted with the national senior team on April 22, 2007, accepting an invitation to join the club for the 2007 IIHF World Championship in Russia.[66] However, Weber’s experience in this tournament was interrupted by an incident for which he was suspended three games.[67] A minute into Canada’s preliminary round game versus Germany, Weber hit Yannic Seidenberg in the chin with his elbow, giving the German a concussion and sidelining him for the remainder of the tournament.[68] After serving his suspension, Weber continued with the tournament, finishing with two points in six games played, including a goal in Canada’s 5–1 quarterfinal victory over Switzerland.[67][69] Canada went on to win the gold medal in the tournament, defeating Finland 4–2.[70]

On April 14, 2009, Weber was named to the national senior team for the 2009 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland,[71] as one of four alternate captains on the team.[72] In Canada’s final preliminary round game, Weber was named Canada’s VIP after scoring one goal and three assists as Canada defeated Slovakia 7–3.[73][74] Weber finished the tournament with four goals and eight assists for twelve points in nine games played, leading all defencemen in tournament scoring and finishing tied for third overall among all skaters.[75] Despite being defeated by Russia 2–1 in the gold medal game, Weber was named to the tournament all-star team and was awarded the tournament’s Best Defenceman award.[76]

On July 2, 2009, Weber was invited to the Canadian orientation camp for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.[77] On December 30, 2009, he was named to the final Canadian roster for the tournament.[78] In Canada’s qualification round game versus Germany, Weber scored Canada’s second goal of the game in an 8–2 victory. His shot passed through the mesh net behind German goaltender Thomas Greiss and a video review was required to award the goal.[79] Weber finished the tournament with six points in seven games, ranking second amongst defencemen in terms of scoring, and was named to the tournament’s all-star team, which defeated the United States 3–2 in overtime to win the gold medal.[80][81][82] Weber, along with his British Columbian teammates from the Olympic team, will be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in September 2011.[83]

Personal life

Weber has a brother, Brandon, who is two years younger than him and grew up playing hockey with Shea’s former Predators teammate Cody Franson. When Weber was fifteen, his mother was diagnosed with brain cancer, which surgery mostly removed. However, she later began suffering from similar symptoms, and in early 2010 had a series of seizures. Weber’s mother was placed in an induced coma, and passed away on August 11, 2010.

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