(Printed in the September 2015 edition of On Fire, the match night program of the Coventry Blaze)
By: Ashley March
When the Coventry Blaze were looking to fill another defensive slot for their 2015/2016 season, an unfamiliar name popped up on their radar. A 28 year old Canadian out of Sparwood, British Columbia, came into the forefront of the Blaze roster picture. Having just spent a full season with one of the best teams in the East Coast Hockey League, the Tulsa Oilers, Kevin Noble had started earning himself a reputation. No, it wasn’t on the scoresheet but it was with his fists.
Noble connected for 125 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Oilers. His 6’1 frame saw him collide with fellow ECHL tough guys, Garrett Clarke and Jean Phillip Chabot, earning him respect during his first full professional season. With every squad he’s had the chance of icing with, Noble has been one of the top leaders in penalty minutes. Don’t let that stat deter you though. Those penalties were taken for a reason and not for granted. As signings in the Elite Ice Hockey League continued to get stronger with rival teams signings ex-NHL tough guys this summer, the Blaze needed toughness. With Noble, that’s exactly what they’ll get and fans in the SkyDome will be sure to be entertained.
For Noble, a spot on the Blaze gives him the chance to learn from some of the best in professional hockey; not only with the team but the league itself. Already a proven leader, Noble was granted captaincy of the NCAA’s Mercyhurst College Lakers in his senior year. Majoring in Sport Business, Noble majored in assists on the ice. His natural play-making ability combined with his skill to be two steps ahead of the play worked in his favour on his quest to the professional ranks. While he bounced around the ECHL and the now defunct Central Hockey League, Noble found himself at home with the Oilers In Tulsa, Oklahoma. As the state of minor hockey in North America got shuffled around, rosters were changed and some players were left without a home. With changes come new jerseys and for Noble, the perfect fit was Coventry blue.
From his Junior A days on the west coast of Canada with the Nanaimo Clippers, Noble has been an exceptional ray of light on any team he’s been a part of; especially when the course went down the stretch and into the playoffs. Noble helped the Clippers to a playoff berth 42 points in 59 games during his last season. All 200 pounds of him on the blue line kept opponents in check and as always, something an EIHL playoff bound team will need.
Noble also has the chance to learn from one of the best coaches the sport of hockey has ever seen, Chuck Weber. However, in return, Weber gets to mold a fresh, young and newly professional player and have him fit to his game plan however he wants. That’s very unique for an import in the league to be fairly new to professional hockey. Noble will be ready, willing and extremely eager to prove to not only Weber, but to the Blaze ‘Blue Army’ that he has what it takes to make an impact in UK hockey.
The past off season has seen Noble run a hockey school with two other fellow BC native hockey players. Based in Invermere, British Columbia, the Columbia Valley Hockey School is thriving with helping churn out the next generation of junior hockey players in Canada.
He has the book smarts and he has the ice smarts. The future of professional hockey for Kevin Noble is clear sailing and the sky is the limit. Just make sure that sky is blue.