A Cochrane hockey player has been recognized in his rookie season in junior 'A' hockey.

Nick Dobson, 18, was named the most improved player of the SJHL's Weyburn (SK) Red Wings. In 43 games, the defenceman had two goals and 11 assists, placing him 11th in the league for defensive rookie scoring.

The Cochrane Minor Hockey product says it was an honour to receive the award and was caught off guard when it was announced.

Dobson, who arrived home about two weeks ago, says Weyburn is a great place to play.

"It's awesome. It's hard to leave, honesty. Love the team, and it's a blast playing in front of those fans. It's a really unique experience."

He says the fans are loud and proud, especially when they play their long-time rivals, the Estavan Bruins. At their last home game, he estimates they had 1,500 fans in the barn.

The Red Wings were in major rebuilding mode and missed the playoffs. They started fresh with all players under 20.

"I don't think any other team in the league can say that."

NHL veteran Rich Pilon was the team's new head coach and it appears he was looking for the club to get a fresh start.  Many may know the Saskatchewan-born hard-nosed defenceman from his 15 years split between the New York Islander, Rangers, and St. Louis Blues.

Making the climb to junior 'A' from minor hockey was a little different than Dobson imagined.

"I thought it would be an easier jump than it was from minor hockey to junior A, and it really wasn't."

"It's a whole new experience, definitely a lot different than minor hockey."

He's looking forward to reporting to camp in the fall and wants to be more of an impact player.  He had planned to return to Weyburn to help with the Apr. 3 to 5 spring camp until it was postponed.