July 7, 2015 Colleyville, Texas
Before the Bloomington Thunder Training Camp and for the third time since their expansion in 2014, Bloomington will have a one of their players in an NHL sweater. Forward Blake Gober has reportedly been extended an invitation to the National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars Prospect Camp from Tuesday morning through Saturday in Frisco, TX, just 40 minutes from his hometown of Colleyville.
Whilst packing for the trip, excitement was on Gober’s mind. “I didn’t think it would happen and when I got the call, I guess I was a little shocked. At the same time, I couldn’t be more excited to learn from the coaches and guys I’ll be skating with.”
The Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, two years before Gober was born. For almost the entire existence of the franchise, he has been a devout fan, and like any player, hopes to play for them some day. “When I found out I was going to be able to put on a Stars jersey it was a dream come true. That’s what I want to be able to do someday. There would be nothing better than to wear that Stars uniform and play for my hometown.”
Gober reached the conclusion of his first United States Hockey League season with the Thunder back in April, amassing 21 points (9g, 12a) in 54 games. The 20-year-old also was voted by Head Coach and General Manager Dennis Williams as a co-recipient of the Thunder’s Coaches Award with alumnus Ryan Galt (University of Nebraska-Omaha).
19 NHL Draft picks pegged as Stars prospects, including six who played for the team’s American Hockey League affiliate the Texas Stars, will be suiting up alongside Gober and the other invitees.
“I’ll learn a ton just from being there this week. This is the NHL level; it doesn’t get any better than that. So being with those caliber players and coaches will be a huge learning experience,” Gober continued.
Thunder goaltender Logan Halladay (University of Minnesota) had the privilege to join the Carolina Hurricanes last preseason and former Thunder defenseman Nikolas Koberstein (Montreal Canadiens, University of Alaska-Fairbanks)attended the Montreal Canadiens prospect camp after his fifth round selection in 2014. Both spoke mainly about the atmosphere of the camp, and even though you are not skating with the team’s NHL roster, the entire camp exudes what it is to be in the league. With Stars coaches, draft picks, and other highly touted prospects among the ranks at the camp, Gober hopes to be a proverbial sponge.
The 5-foot-8 college prospect commented on what he is most excited to learn from the camp. “How they handle themselves compared to us. They play about four games a week while we only play on the weekend so I’m excited to see how they take care of their bodies from day to day. I think I can take a lot from something like that.”
Along with the field of players attending camp in Dallas, another USHL stand out will make an appearance. Former Dubuque Fighting Saints goaltender, Jacob Nehama (Colorado College) out of Allen, TX will make an appearance after playing parts of two seasons in the league. Nehama led the league in wins this season with 29 and ranked second in GAA at 2.31 behind Los Angeles Kings prospect Alec Dillon. Nehama and Gober were teammates for the Dallas Stars U16 and U18 T1EHL programs from 2011 to 2013 before becoming opponents in the USHL.
“The camp is basically in my back yard so it makes it much easier. I went to high school with a couple guys who will be there and played with a bunch of them too,” mentioned Gober who has been around Dallas hockey almost all his life. “Nothing will feel out of place for me. I’ve skated at that rink a million times, it will just be a dream come true to be with the Stars.”
“I spoke to Logan (Halladay) when I first found out and was a little nervous, but he gave me a couple big tips,” he continued. “I’m just going out there to have some fun, enjoy my time, and learn as much as I can in the week.”
Gober will skate in the camp which is open to the public. A full schedule can be found HERE . Gober will join the Thunder in Bloomington later this summer to prepare for the upcoming 2015-16 season at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum.