UND lands commitment from center Jasper Weatherby
Jasper Weatherby played fourth-line center as an 18-year-old for the Wenatchee Wild last season.
“He never complained,” Wild coach Bliss Littler said. “A lot of kids would say, ‘Send me to a team I can play more.’ He never complained. He knew his time would come.”
His time has come, indeed.
Weatherby, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound center, has turned his big start to the British Columbia Hockey League season -- 31 points in 21 games -- into an opportunity to play college hockey at North Dakota.
Weatherby gave a verbal commitment to UND on Tuesday night, choosing the Fighting Hawks over Boston University, Colorado College, Michigan Tech and Nebraska Omaha. He’s expected to come to campus next season.
“As soon as you get on campus and see how passionate the coaching staff is and meet with all the guys, you realize there’s nothing like it,” said Weatherby, who visited campus this week. “It was an easy decision.”
Weatherby, who grew up in southern Oregon, will be UND’s second player ever from the state. The other was All-American defenseman Ian Kidd.
Despite growing up on the West Coast, Weatherby knew all about UND.
“You know guys like Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise, and you know their fan base,” he said. “I remember watching the regional a couple years ago when they played at Scheels Arena and it was packed with their fans. All the other games weren’t like that.”
Weatherby has been one of the top players in the BCHL this season. He currently ranks fifth in the league and points and second in goals with 19.
“He’s a big kid,” Littler said. “He skates real well. He’s hard on the puck from the faceoff circle in and he’s special below the goal line. He’s so big, strong and long. He’s great at protecting the puck and moves the puck pretty well as a centerman.
“On most nights, he’s been not just one of the best players, but maybe the most effective player.”
Littler also said Weatherby brings strong leadership qualities.
“He’s a high, high-end character guy,” Littler said. “Extremely high-end character. He’s a kid who is extremely humble and just the type of kid North Dakota is known for recruiting.”