Chase Dubois is officially a Western Hockey League prospect.
Dubois, a 15-year-old forward for the Major Midget League's Cariboo Cougars, has been added to the protected list of the Prince George Cougars. Dubois hails from Williams Lake and wasn't selected in May's WHL bantam draft.
In the opinion of Cariboo head coach Bryan MacLean, the talented teen may have been overlooked on draft day because of his home address.
"I think a lot of kids in the North, that ends up happening," said MacLean, whose players range from 15 to 17 in age. "It comes draft time and a lot of them have had just one shot to impress at B.C. Cup [part of B.C. Hockey's high performance program] and I don't know if Chase had his best showing there so he flew under the radar a bit. But as we went through the [pre-season] he was impressing a lot of people. It's good for him to get listed. That's kind of what we're here for, is to get guys moving on to the next level."
Dubois is one of four 15-year-olds who were good enough to crack the Cariboo roster this season. He was held off the scoresheet in the Cougars' first two regular-season games, but, with his package of skills, likely won't have to wait long for his first MML point.
"The big thing with Chase is his skating ability," MacLean said. "He's always gaining speed as he's moving. He's physical and he's got good hockey sense. He's able to read the play and he's good at turning pucks over on the defensive side. He's also good offensively in seeing different things and creating different things for good scoring opportunities."
Dubois, five-foot-seven and 145 pounds, also has some intangible qualities that all coaches crave.
"He just loves the game," MacLean said. "Every time he goes on the ice he loves it and he's learning. Those qualities are going to take him a long way. If you love this game and you're dedicated to getting better you're going to go a long way."
Dubois and his Cariboo teammates will open the home portion of their schedule when they face off against the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at CN Centre.
-- PETERS, Citizen staff