Dale Weise turned a demotion into a promotion through his brief stint with the Laval Rocket in 2019-20.
The 31 year old expected to start the year in Montreal. It would have made sense to see him in a fourth-line role but instead, he found himself at Place Bell with the Laval Rocket following training camp.
“I didn’t really expect to be here [in Laval],” Weise said back in November. “Once you kind of get over that and put your ego aside and get back to work, I’m enjoying it. I think we’ve got a great group of guys here. I’m relied on as a leader, which I don’t take that lightly, and I’m having some fun with it.”
One man who helped Weise get over the hump, and embrace being a leader to younger players was head coach Joël Bouchard. The coach praised his attitude and efforts while playing with the Rocket. The forward even served as a guide for young players like Josh Brook in the locker room.
Weise even sought to stick up for teammates like Keith Kinkaid, who didn’t have the greatest year in Laval.
Dale Weise on the fake cheers for Keith Kinkaid:— Julian McKenzie (@jkamckenzie) December 28, 2019
"The fans start getting on him like that, that’s tough. That’s really disappointing to see. He’s a good guy. He’s come in and worked hard. I feel for the guy. He’s going to come out of it. He’s a great goaltender.”
Weise’s best night as a Rocket forward came November 2, when he picked up three points in a 6-5 shootout victory over the Toronto Marlies. His lone goal of the night tied the game at two goals apiece.
Weise would later follow up with a pair of assists on Charles Hudon goals, including a game-tying goal with over two minutes to play in regulation, as three of Weise’s five points in the AHL this past season came on one night.
The reluctant Dutch Gretzky would get his wish to play with the big club in early January 2020 when the Canadiens called him up and he wouldn’t suit up in a Rocket uniform again. He scored one goal and four assists in 23 games played as a Hab during the 2019-20 season.
Pre-coronavirus, it seemed as if Weise would finish the regular season as a Hab and have an early summer. Now, it appears as if Weise has another chance to channel his playoff mode and add to his Habs legacy, which features goals like these:
Not bad for a guy who started the season in the American Hockey League.