ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA — How would you answer the question: “Who is Dale Weise?”
The 32-year-old Weise is a 10-year veteran of the NHL, recording 125 points and 355 penalty minutes in 513 games. This is Weise’s first season away from hockey and many hockey fans will be familiar with his opinionated social media posts. But Weise is also a caring individual who likes to give back to his community, and in this instance, a class of middle school students.
Let’s spend a little time examining each aspect of his public persona.
First, the spicy stuff. Who is @daleweise22?
Weise Meets Twitter
Have you seen the hashtag #DaleWeiseStopWatchingTheHabs? It’s been running wild because of Dale’s interactions recently on Twitter. Dating back to the end of January, Weise has been tweeting that whenever he watches the Habs play they lose.
I guess teams should pay me to watch them against the habs 🤦♂️😂😂
— Dale Weise (@daleweise22) January 31, 2021
In early February, Dale joked that Habs fans shouldn’t panic because the Habs game was not available in his viewing region of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Later that night, the Habs beat the Ottawa Senators 2-1 leading Weise to continue this long running joke about his Habs watching curse.
The Twitter antics don’t end there though and soon many Habs fans found themselves up in arms in an online Twitter war with the former Montreal Canadiens forward, when Weise complimented players from a bitter rival.
Austin Mathews and Mitch marner are an absolute treat to watch my goodness 🤯🤯
— Dale Weise (@daleweise22) February 21, 2021
With the Canadiens losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Weise delivered a not-so-cryptic message to Habs fans.
I remember 2015 we started the year 9-0-1 and didn’t make the playoffs that year!
— Dale Weise (@daleweise22) February 21, 2021
Following the Canadiens firing of Claude Julien, Dale tweeted this little shot at his former head coach.
Willing to bet there won’t be as many too many men penalties
— Dale Weise (@daleweise22) February 24, 2021
When a fan suggested that it probably wasn’t the time to be piling on the Habs former coach, Weise fired back, “Coaches can do and say and be anyway (sic) they want behind close (sic) doors but they lose there (sic) job and we should feel pitty? (sic) And guys like you come on saying don’t kick him while he’s down? Give me a break”.
Making the Transition
Coming to grips with the end of one’s career at a relatively young age is not easy. And many athletes have struggled with the transition to life after hockey. Now that he’s not active in the NHL, Weise has decided to communicate openly from his perspective on Twitter rather than deliver the scripted answers fans are used to hearing from players.
But as stated at the outset of this piece, there are other sides to Dale Weise. Beyond the combative tweets and hashtags is a former NHL player who was kind enough to be interviewed by a class of grade 7 students recently. And he couldn’t have been more kind.
Weise took the time to answer more than 40 questions from my middle school class and I was impressed by how he engaged with each student. He was humble and genuine and it really showed why Marc Bergevin acquired this ‘character’ player twice.
We were treated to a veteran who was obviously well-practiced at interviews. This provided an excellent opportunity for my students to learn how to conduct an interview with a professional athlete. There were a few answers that actually left me surprised as a fan of Weise.
Weise’s Hockey Journey
Weise told his hockey story from his beginnings growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
From the young age of three, Weise fell in love with hockey after learning to skate with his Dad and brother. His biggest role model growing up was always his father. Dale dedicated all of his free time to hockey as a child, constantly visiting the outdoor rink with his older brother.
It’s really no surprise that Dale fell in love with hockey at such a young age with the Winnipeg Jets drawing his attention in the 1990’s. Jets fans are as passionate and dedicated as Canadiens fans. As a young Winnipegger, he loved cheering on the hometown team and his favourite player Keith Tkachuk.
As Dale got older, he expanded his sports interests beyond hockey investing a lot of time in every sport he could possibly join. He enjoyed soccer, volleyball, baseball and others as a young athlete. He spoke of the importance of being a multi-sport athlete throughout his development.
Despite participating in many sports, Weise always set his sights on making a living out of hockey and hoped one day to make the NHL. Every minute of his free time was directed towards making improvements to his game.
Go West Young Man
At 16-years-old, Dale left Winnipeg and his family behind, and moved to Swift Current where he joined the WHL playing for the Broncos. It was three years later when Dale started to realize that he had a shot at making the NHL. In 2007-08, his last season with the Broncos, Dale registered 29 goals and tallied 50 points in 53 games.
Dale credits a lot of his successes in life and hockey to his junior hockey coach, Dean Chynoweth, who always pushed him to be his best self and shaped him as a hockey player on and off the ice. Perhaps the most important thing he got from his coach was a thicker skin, Weise said.
Becoming a Blueshirt
After a great season with the Swift Current Broncos, Weise would finally see his hockey dream realized. In the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Weise was picked 111th overall by the New York Rangers.
After the Draft, Dale went on to spend two and a half seasons in the AHL before being called up to the Rangers where he would play his first NHL game. Weise didn’t had a backup plan if hockey didn’t work out and he was ready to take his shot.
No Goal Bath
When students asked about his most embarrassing moment in the NHL, he spoke of his very first game. While we have seen many rookies subjected to the solo lap around in the ice in warm-up, Weise had a much different memory of his first game.
After apparently scoring a goal in his very first game, Weise returned to the bench to grab a drink. While the disputed goal was under review, Dale grabbed a bottle of Gatorade. When he squeezed the bottle, the lid came off leaving him covered in yellow Gatorade. Not checking that the lid was secured was a rookie mistake resulting in his teammates laughing on the bench, proud of their prank.
The goal was disallowed for a kicking motion and leaving Weise sitting in a Gatorade mess and without his first NHL tally.
During the 2012-’13 NHL lockout, Dale instructed his agent to find a team so he could play the game he missed. He didn’t care where, he just had to keep playing hockey! Within a few hours, his agent found him a spot on a team in the Netherlands.
The next day, Weise was on his way to Holland where he played the best hockey of his career. In 19 games with the Tilburg Trappers, Weise he scored 22 goals, 26 assists for 48 points along with 79 penalty minutes. It was here that the nickname was born.
The lockout took 119 days to be resolved but the NHL did manage to return to play for the 2012-’13 season. Dale wasn’t fond of the “Dutch Gretzky” tag initially thinking that it was being used by the media to ridicule him. However, during the question and answer with my students, Dale revealed that it is now his favorite nickname given the way it was used by passionate Habs fans.
Montreal, the First Time
On February 3rd, 2014, Marc Bergevin acquired Dale Weise from the Vancouver Canucks for defenceman Raphael Diaz. Weise quickly became a fan favorite in Montreal for his physical play.
Dale loved the rush of emotion he experienced before the drop of the puck in Montreal. Weise described the unique atmosphere of playing a home game at the Bell Centre. He spoke of the volume in the arena, with the crowd cheering on the bleu, blanc et rouge.
Best Game Ever
During the interview, one of the students asked about Dale’s greatest accomplishment as a hockey player. It didn’t take him long to pick a moment that many Habs fans will remember.
You could see Dale’s eyes brighten as he spoke with pride about his only NHL career hat trick during an October game in the 2015-16 season. Weise scored three times leading the Canadiens to a 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames.
It was during this season that Weise enjoyed his NHL career high 14 goals in 56 games. Another memorable event occurred for Dale meeting and developing a lifelong friendship with P.K. Subban.
Of course over his time in Montreal, many fans were critical of the ice time he received, often playing in a higher role than his performance seemed to deserve. While his energy on the ice certainly earned him fan favorite status, it was also clear Montreal needed to find more offensive talent.
Just ahead of the 2016 trade deadline, Marc Bergevin traded Weise along with Tomas Fleischmann to the Chicago Blackhawks for Phillip Danault and a 2018 second round pick, which became Alexander Romanov.
Montreal, Round Two
After 19 games with the Blackhawks, Weise moved on to Philadelphia where he spent three seasons. In February 2019, Montreal fans of Dale rejoiced when Bergevin acquired Weise and Christian Folin from Philadelphia for David Schlemko and Byron Froese. Over a season and a half, Weise split time between the Canadiens and the Laval Rocket.
Dale spoke highly of his time in Montreal, calling it one of the best hockey cities. Dale defended the play of Carey Price declaring that he is the league’s best goaltender with an elite extra gear. Weise expressed gratitude to the Canadiens and their fans for the opportunity of experiencing the passion of Bell Centre crowds during the playoffs as a Montreal Canadien.
I am sincerely grateful for the time Dale Weise gave my students for this interview. It is an experience that they will remember for a very long time.
By Carly Prawdzik, Staff Writer
All Habs Hockey Magazine
Copyright © 2021 Rocket Sports