Inspired by her beloved Boston Bruins, Hobbs carries her father's memory with her each shift

Claire Hobbs celebrates with teammates after scoring against Calgary last Friday (Rebecca Chelmick photo).
Claire Hobbs celebrates with teammates after scoring against Calgary last Friday (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – As her father Andrew battled a rare neurological disease called PSP (progressive supranuclear palsy) that eventually claimed his life last March, Claire Hobbs remembers the biggest constant that they bonded over.

Their love of the Boston Bruins.

They would sit for hours watching Bruins games together. 

"My brother and I would watch it with him and that was one thing we got to do with him a lot as his disease was really progressing – we could watch hockey," said the MacEwan Griffins forward, who hails from Calgary. "We'd get the Centre Ice package, so we could watch all the Bruins games. That was one thing he still enjoyed doing and we could enjoy it with him."

As she was reflecting on the impact her dad had on her own hockey career, Hobbs came across a video of Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery speaking to his team before a game last November.

"It was during their father's trip," said Hobbs. "He came in the room and was giving a speech about 'not everyone's father is here with them, but you carry their name on the back of your jersey. They're always with you.' 

"I've kind of thought about that a lot. He gave me my last name, so it's like he's there out on the ice with me every game."

What Hobbs has gone through after losing her dad has been a journey of healing and peace, but she's forever grateful of the impact he had on her career.

"He was such a big influence on me through hockey," she said. "He coached me many years and he wouldn't miss a game. Even when he was unwell and he was at home, he would always have (my games) on the TV and would always watch regardless of the score. He would watch the whole thing. 

"He was always a huge support. He never tried to be a parent coach. He always said, 'as long as you have fun and love what you do, that's all that matters.' "

Hobbs' love of the game is apparent every day on and off the rink. She's among the biggest students of the game that head coach Chris Leeming has on his roster.

"She's the type of person that watches hockey all the time and has a great understanding of the game," said Leeming. "Claire's one of the few that I actually have conversations with about NHL games. She's watched them all the time. She's trying some of those skills in practice, so it's fun to see."

Claire Hobbs is back at her top level after recovering from a concussion that cost her eight games earlier this season (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Hobbs will lead the Griffins into action this weekend vs. UBC (Friday, 7 p.m. and Saturday, 3 p.m., both Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV).

Friday is the Canada West-wide 'Stick Up for Pride Tape' initiative where the inventor of Pride Tape – Dr. Kristopher Wells, a MacEwan Associate Professor of Child and Youth Care – will be dropping the puck. 

On Saturday is MacEwan Hockey's annual 'Skate with the Griffs' which allows kids to meet and skate with members of the team.


After missing eight games earlier this season with a concussion, Hobbs returned to the lineup on Nov. 10, but it took her until last weekend to truly find her top form. She scored a goal in last Friday's 4-3 OT loss to Calgary and blocked eight shots.

"It's hard when you come back," she said. "I came back from a concussion, so that's a big confidence thing when it comes to physicality. So, for me, just getting back to my game and feeling comfortable with the puck was huge for me. I definitely feel like I got that back."

Tying for the Griffins' scoring lead last season with five goals, Hobbs proved how capable she is of creating offence for the team. But last weekend, in particular, demonstrated how much a defensive force she can be, too.

"She's got some great puck skills and an offensive mindset," said Leeming. "But we're asking our team to defend harder in the D zone and that's something she's bought into. It's been great to see that she's not just focused on that but is looking to play a complete game – all 200 feet of the ice.

"She's competing in all the areas, not just the offensive zone. That makes a big difference for us."