Long, winding road to Hearst

Randy Russon
February 22, 2018

Dawson Waddell has traveled the hockey highways through three junior leagues to get to where he is now in the northeastern Ontario town of Hearst.

Hailing from Brandon, Manitoba, the 6-foot, 170-pound center has taken a route through the Manitoba Jr. Hockey League (twice) and the Superior International Jr. Hockey League before reaching his current destination with the Hearst Lumberjacks of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

In other words, Waddell has moved far from his Brandon home as he continues his junior hockey sojourn. A check of the old geography map shows that Brandon and Hearst are separated by about 880 miles of sometimes-rugged highways.

At any rate, Waddell’s junior A hockey tour began in 2016-2017 with the Steinbach Pistons of the MJHL.

Waddell played in seven games for Steinbach and had a pair of goals before the Fort Frances Lakers of the SIJHL traded for the kid with the late, 1998 birth date (October 25.) Waddell skated in 27 games for Fort Frances in 2016-2017 and put up respectable numbers that included 7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points.

But it was back to Manitoba to begin this 2017-2018 campaign as the Swan Valley Stampeders of the MJHL traded for Waddell. Waddell had 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points in 20 games with Swan Valley before Hearst coach-general manager Marc Lafleur came calling and asked the puck-possession pivot if he would be interested in playing in the NOJHL for the Lumberjacks.

The youngster said yes and it has been in Hearst and the NOJHL that Waddell has started to develop his overall game under the demanding watch of Lafleur.

In 20 NOJHL games with the Lumberjacks, Waddell has 8 goals, 8 assists, 16 points. Waddell has really come on offensively over his last four games with 4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points.

Lafleur, the attention-to-detail coach of the Lumberjacks, likes what Waddell has brought to Hearst.

“When he first came in, he immediately made an impact on the penalty kill,” Lafleur relayed to Hockey News North. “His reliability on managing the puck is making our team more defensively sound.”

And that is not all that Waddell has contributed, according to Lafleur.

“With his recent offensive output he is now showing us that he can be a terrific two-way forward in our league,” praised Lafleur. “He is a stand-up individual and the type of person and player that every coach loves to have in the lineup.”

PHOTO: Dawson Waddell (at left) of the Hearst Lumberjacks in NOJHL action against the Espanola Express.

What you think about “Long, winding road to Hearst”

  1. Great article Randy! I listened to Hearst radio last night, Spencer Silver is another one that is far from home, enjoying the town of Hearst and playing for the Jacks! He’s been on fire last few games!

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