Andrew Gweon is ready to pay the price to accomplish his dream of playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The highly skilled elusive scoring forward had a great rookie campaign with the Fredericton Caps.
“This season has been very nerve-wracking,” confessed Gweon.
“I put a lot of expectations on myself and I wanted to prove to myself that I can make it at a higher level and keep competing in the game I love.”
Gweon’s style of play is very similar than Caps teammate and Acadie-Bathurst Draft Pick Josh Nadeau.
At only 5’9 162 pounds, Gweon may have been in tough height and size wise, but you certainly wouldn’t know from the way he played as the season went on.
Nadeau and Gweon possesses exceptional hockey IQ and certainly didn’t shy away from the physical side of the game.
Gweon adapted well to the Midget level making players better around him by his willingness to go to the dirty areas of the ice.
“I’ve been working on in my game my shot and my strength because it is much harder to score at the next level,” explained Gweon.
“Players are stronger and bigger, and to compete with them, I’ll need to be much stronger.”
Gweon methodically dissected opposing teams defensive structures.
Between he and Nadeau the Caps had arguably the best power play tandem on the half boards in the entire league and one hell of a one two punch through the middle.
Gweon handled the pressure and stress of his draft year extremely well from a far, but regrets one aspect of that experience.
“If I could change one aspect of my draft year, it would be stressing a little bit too much, I wish I just relaxed and appreciated the journey and just had fun.”
“I would also like to change COVID-19 because it really made things a lot tougher and much more confusing.”
The added pressure didn’t seem to effective his offensive production and overall contribution.
The Fredericton, New Brunswick product bulged the twine 16 times while adding 22 assists in 37 games.
There’s no question players of Gweon’s skill set have excelled in every era of the game, especially in this generation.
Nevertheless, Gweon is quick to credit his hockey heroes for providing extra incentive and inspiration.
“As a kid I always looked up to Martin St. Louis and Tyler Ennis.”
“They’re smaller players and they have to work twice as hard and compete twice as hard as other players and it’s really impressive the things they have achieved in the game,” confessed Gweon.
“They are fun players to watch.”
“They are also an underdog story and people overlooked them, it’s a heartwarming feeling to see them succeed.”
What would it mean to be drafted this weekend and where doe Gweon see himself fitting in at the next level?
“It would mean a whole lot to get drafted to the QMJHL,” admitted Gweon.
“I’ve put a lot of blood sweat and tears into hockey and just getting to the next level and getting drafted, would be very cool and a very relieving experience.”
Gweon is currently ranked 52nd overall on the QMJHL CSR’s Final Draft List.
“I see myself fitting at the next level as a bottom six player who provides very good defense and can also chip in offensively.”
“I feel like I can play a lot of minutes and just play very hard while also playing a solid and reliable game at both ends of the ice.”
“Andrew’s improvement over the course of the season was very consistent,” said Caps Head Coach Eric Bissonnette.
“Andrew is very coachable and wants to get better.”
“An offensive player like him at the midget level often don’t like to play hard at both ends of the ice, but Andrew is very consciensous of his play without the puck,” Bissonnette said.
“I believe that’s an attribute that will allow him to play at the major junior level early and work his way into a top six player.”
Gweon and the Caps were about to face the power house Moncton Flyers in the provincial finals when the horrific COVID-19 struck resulting in the end of the season.
Gweon worked tirelessly throughout the entire season to get to this point in his career, one step closer to his dream.
“I’ve been working on my shot, my skating and on my strength with of my trainer just so that I can just keep physically fit and keep improving throughout the off season,” explained Gweon.
Gweon believes the extra work will undoubtedly pay off in the future.
“I think that will take my game to the next level once I return on the ice.”
“I’ve also been watching hockey just trying to make sure that my hockey IQ is still improving, plus watching hockey is a lot of fun.”
Gweon thinks the game extremely well and great things usually happen when #16 steps on the ice.
A true sign of a young players that wants it more than anything is their work ethic and character.
Gweon possesses all the intangibles and more.
His relentless desire to improve coupled with his tremendous individual skill makes him a very intriguing prospect.
Gweon’s unwavering passion to improve and off charts skill and hockey sense is something you just can’t teach.
Gweon isn’t leaving anything to chance.
“Personally I feel I need to work on my shooting aspect and obviously speed aspect too because the game just gets so fast at the next level and everything happens a lot quicker and with more precision,” Gweon said.
The challenge and dream to play the game he loves at the highest level possible isn’t lost on him.
Gweon understands the sacrifices his parents and support system have made to get him to this stage of his career.
“Obviously, hockey isn’t a cheap sport and my parents have made a lot of financial sacrifices by putting me in to hockey.”
“They’ve made a lot of time sacrifices driving me to the early morning practices and tournaments and overnight stays in hotels isn’t cheap.”
“They have made tons of sacrifices putting me into hockey.”
“I love it and I respect and appreciate them a lot for that.”
Gweon’s introduction to the game started in a somewhat unconventional way.
“The earliest memory I’ve had for playing hockey is at Kingswood the artificial ice and just learning how to skate on it with Gary and Carol McKinley,” Gweon said proudly.
“They taught me everything from how to skate to how to shoot pucks.”
From synthetic ice to the bright lights of the QMJHL Andrew Gweon has and will continue to pay the price and do whatever it takes to accomplish his childhood dream.
“I am very excited to play in the QMJHL, it’s a pretty amazing league and it’s been a dream of mine to play in the Q, it would be an honor to be able to play.”