Born August 14, 1985 (age 26) in Sicamous, British Columbia, Canada
Defenseman and captain for the Nashville Predators
I will refrain from making too many references to Weber’s brilliant playoff beard here and instead focus on the man as a whole. Weber was born to a hairdresser mother and a sawmill worker father (very blue-collar upbringing) and started playing organized hockey at age six. In his childhood he dabbled in being a forward or a d-man, but his dad convinced him to switch and become a d-man permanently. He also had a growth spurt when he was 14 that propelled him up five inches! He played junior-level for his hometown squad the Sicamous Eagles, moving up to the Kelowna Rockets and starting a reputation as a bit of an agitator. His first year with the Rockets, the team won the WHL’s championship Ed Chynoweth Cup for the first time ever, and after that was when he became draft-eligible. He was picked 49th overall by Nashville, but stayed on with Kelowna for two more years. In his last year as a Rocket, they got the Chynoweth Cup again. Although he’d signed an entry-level contract in 2004, he did not debut with Nashville until January 2006 in a game versus Detroit. His first goal came against St. Louis three months later and even scored two playoff goals during Nashville’s 2006 playoff run.
Weber just kept improving during his second year with the Predators and even though his third year was marred by some injuries, he still got 20 points in 54 games played. In his fourth year, he resigned with Nashville, went to the All-Star Game, was considered a Norris Trophy candidate, had career-high totals in every major stat category and even set a Nashville record for goals by a d-man in one season. Following a notable fifth year, he was named the captain of the Predators in July 2010. He became Nashville’s youngest captain and the only homegrown one. Again he went to the All-Star Game, but he also helped the Preds get to the conference semifinals for the first time in their history. He was one of the three Norris finalists and resigned with Nashville once again after going through some salary arbitration in August.
Weber has represented Canada many times, including the gold-medal 2010 Olympics team, a gold from the 2007 Worlds, a silver from the 2009 Worlds and a gold from the 2005 World Juniors. In this past season, he appeared in all 82 of Nashville’s regular-season games, contributing 16 goals and 32 assists with 56 playoff minutes (note that he’s been decreasing his sin bin time since his career-high of 167 in his first full Kelowna year). Of course, Nashville also had a pretty deep playoff run, in which he played 12 games, with 3 goals, 2 assists and 8 penalty minutes. He’s going to be in Nashville for at least one more season, although he’s said he wants to keep playing there.