Monday, 19 June 2017

Nogier took big strides as a rookie pro with Moose and Jets

Nelson Nogier signs autographs as part of a charity event in Saskatoon.
    Nelson Nogier couldn’t ask for much more in his rookie year of professional hockey.
    The 21-year-old defensive defenceman spent most of rookie campaign playing for the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose appearing in 60 games collecting two goals, 11 assists and a minus-five rating in the plus-minus department. The Moose are the farm club of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets
    On March 21, the Saskatoon product made his NHL debut with the Jets, and he helped them pull out a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
    Nogier appeared in 10 games with the Jets posting a minus-one rating.
    “It was an unreal experience,” said Nogier, who played four complete seasons in the WHL with his hometown Saskatoon Blades and Red Deer Rebels. “The learning curve and the development process was sped up so much throughout those 10 games that I was up there.
    “I was able to soak in and learn a lot to try and set myself up here for a good summer.”
    Nogier experienced his first big highlight in his first professional regular season game. On Oct. 14, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa, Nogier fired home his first goal helping the visiting Moose down the Iowa Wild 3-1. He scored by keeping things simple.
    “Ryan Olsen passed me the puck out of the corner, and I just pulled it to the middle and threw it on net,” said Nogier. “Sure enough, it went in.”
Nelson Nogier during his days with the Saskatoon Blades.
    Like he did during his time with the Blades and Rebels, Nogier, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 191 pounds, focused on being solid in his own zone and becoming more consistent in his defensive game. He performed well enough that near the end of the campaign he received the break all rookie pros hope for.
    As injuries piled up on the Jets blue-line, Nogier received his call up to the big club.
    The night before he made his NHL debut he called his father, Pat, and mother, Lori, to tell them about the news. Both were able to make it to Winnipeg to see their son play his first regular season game with the big club and also receive some air time on TSN’s broadcast.
    The son will never forget that day.
    “It was amazing,” said Nogier. “For me, that was a dream come true, but to be able to share that with my parents who have had such an important role in my life, it is something that I will cherish forever.
    “Everything about it was kind of a whirlwind. It happened so fast. You’re kind of star struck at times, but you just try to be comfortable about it and go out there and play your game.”
    Another memory wasn’t a total highlight, but it was something Nogier laughs about afterwards. In the second period of a Jets 4-3 home ice overtime victory over the Anaheim Ducks, Nogier had his first NHL fight taking on veteran heavyweight forward Jared Boll.
    Boll nailed Jets defenceman Mark Stuart with a high elbow, and Nogier came to the aid of his defence partner. The fight was a short one as Nogier walked into a right hand punch from Boll and went down.
    The rookie came out of that tussle unscathed despite being schooled by the veteran.
    “That was a tough situation,” said Nogier. “It was kind of a high hit on my D-partner, and I tried to step in for him and show the boys that I would be willing to step in for him when I needed to.
Nelson Nogier during his days with the Red Deer Rebels.
    “I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but I just tried to hang in there for as long as I could, even though it was a pretty short while.”
    Overall, Nogier was satisfied with his first professional season.
    “It was a good development year for me,” said Nogier, who collected eight goals, 42 assists and 196 minutes in penalties in 235 career regular season games in the WHL. “I came in there from making the jump from junior into the AHL.
    “I did real well and kind of got comfortable with the role I was set to play with the Moose and then obviously earn myself an opportunity where I could try and show that I could play at the next level as well. I just tried to make the most of the opportunity and go from there.”
    Now the hope will be to have a longer stay at the NHL level in his second season of professional hockey.
    “You don’t want to get your hopes to, too, high,” said Nogier. “You never know what you are going to get thrown at when you come into camp.
    “It is just going to be a matter of me making sure I have a strong summer of training here and setting myself up to be in a good position when I come into camp.”

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to It should be noted that Nogier is my young cousin, and I do cherish the opportunities to write a piece like this.