Antigonish, Nova Scotia’s Jacob Hudson might not be at the top of the all time list for points or games played for the Moncton Wildcats, but that certainly doesn’t mean the diminutive forward hasn’t left a lasting legacy on the organization.
Hudson wasn’t a dominant flashy player during his tenure with the Cats, he was just the teams heart and soul and that’s exactly why they will be talking about #92 for years to come.
“Hearing that I’ve made an impact on people on and off the ice in Moncton is a good feeling,” said a modest Hudson who finished his Major Junior career last month.
“I just wanted to come to the city and be the best person and player I could be,” admitted Hudson who signed on with St. Francis Xavier Xmen to continue his hockey career at the USports level.
“I worked hard and had a lot of fun with my teammates and coaches.”
“I had a lot of great experiences with Wildcat fans as well.”
“I’ll always remember my time in Moncton.”
In every way imaginable, Jacob Hudson embodied the slogan, “the Wildcat Way.”
It was clear since his arrival four years ago that the proud Nova Scotian and Cape Breton West Islander was a “glue guy,” an ultimate competitor and teammate, a player that would never stop working.
“When I first came to Moncton as a call up, Lane Cormier was the Captain at the time. He always included me and made me feel comfortable around the room.”
“I remembered that good feeling of being a part of the team and wanted everyone to feel happy and comfortable,” Hudson said when asked about his innate leadership qualities.
“When the guys are comfortable it makes it easy to come to the rink and work hard because it’s fun.”
“From that point, I just lead by example working hard and being the best person I could be,” stressed Hudson.
The 20-year-old is quick to credit his former teammates, family and of course the fans for their amazing support over the course of his QMJHL career.
“The fans were always supportive and had our backs. They were always so friendly and made it easy to play in front of them.”
Coming into his final season in the Q, Hudson seemed destine to wear the “C.”
Through all the ups and downs of the Cats 2016-2017 rebuild and disappointment of missing out on a great opportunity to potentially hoist a President Cup and perhaps a Memorial Cup last year, it just seemed like the “C” would be the next step in Hudson’s evolution as a Wildcat.
It wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows for Hudson. He faced his fair of adversity throughout his path in the game and journey to the QMJHL. Everything seemed to pointing in the right direction, except for a delay in the AHL season. The gritty skilled forward who had found himself playing a limited role as a rookie years before would be faced with the unthinkable, being a healthy scratch as an overager.
Ever since his arrival Hudson’s diverse skill set and adaptability became an invaluable asset for the organization. The versatile two-way forward earned every opportunity that came his way with the Wildcats until the start of the 2020-2021 season. It became very apparent that #92 would be the odd man out.
“It was tough,” Hudson said of being a healthy scratch during the first half of the season. The Wildcats carried four overagers until they traded co-captain Gabriel Fortier to the Shawinigan Cataractes during the QMJHL Trade Period in late December.
“It was tough because I knew I could be playing out there my team.”
“I used that time as motivation to work hard in the gym and improve on my game.”
Obviously, you know when you have a tremendous leader and the right person for the job, when they are put in a extremely difficult situation, a situation completely out of their control. Hudson never give up on himself, his role or the team.
“Luckily, I had my parents who were very supportive during that time, I can’t thank them enough for everything over the years,” said a reflective Hudson.
“They kept telling me to keep working hard and to stick with it and to be ready for when my opportunity comes. The guys in the room helped also, they made me feel as if I was playing with them every night.”
“The coaches also worked with me throughout these times by working extra with me on and off the ice.”
“All of their support made things easier for me,” stressed Hudson.
Jacob Hudson handled the entire ordeal like a true pro that he is.
When it came to time for #92 to take to the ice as a regular again, he was more than ready to prove he could not only lead in the room and on the ice, but also on the score sheet. Hudson turned in an inspirational herculean effort on all sides of the puck, but flourished offensively or the rebuilding Wildcats.
In 22 regular season games, most of which only came in the second half, Hudson scored 15 goals and added 17 assists. In 5 playoff games, he lite the lamp three times while amassing seven assists.
The kid from Antigonish was on a mission, he look possessed. The ultra motivated forward had weathered the storm coming out on the other side as an even better leader, person and player.
“The Wildcat Way” to me is the way you carry yourself when you are around the team.”
“Moncton wants hard working players on and off the ice that are good people in and out of the rink. They want quality people in the dressing room and that’s what we had,” explained Hudson.
Born to lead, doing the right thing and playing the game the right way became a way of life for Hudson.
He didn’t know any other way.
A junior career can be defined in many different ways. Jacob Hudson’s will undoubtedly live on due in large part to the scale of his heart, personality, character and unwavering dedication to lift up a team and city on his shoulders.
“I want to leave a positive legacy,” Hudson said.
“I had a lot of fun in the Wildcats dressing room and worked hard on and off the ice. I’ve met many new people and created bonds that will last a lifetime.”
“I’ve seen many smiles around the rink over the years, but I will miss my time in Moncton,” he said.
As for the organization moving forward without their fearless leader and heart soul, Hudson believes they will be just fine.
“I think it was shown in the playoffs with the amount of grit, talent and quality people in the dressing room.” “That stuff goes a long way, they are driven and want to win, the future of the Moncton Wildcats is bright.” So is their captain’s.
Jacob Hudson not only did the right way, he did it “the Wildcat Way.”