Have skates, will travel: Jacob Hoffrogge reflects on WHL career

Photo by Mark Peterson Media/Prince Albert Raiders. Jacob Hoffrogge salutes the crowd at the Art Hauser Centre after being named on of the three stars

It wasn’t the most conventional junior hockey career for Jacob Hoffrogge, but the graduating defenceman would have had it no other way.

“It was a journey and it was a fun one.” Hoffrogge says. “I got to meet so many new people along the way. I think I helped some people as well so it made me feel good.”

Jacob Hoffrogge was originally selected by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the second round of the 2018 WHL Prospects Draft, 41st overall.

He would break into the WHL ranks during the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic bubble season appearing in five games.

Hoffrogge would play a full season in Brandon in the 2021-22 campaign, registering nine assists in 62 games for the Wheat Kings.

Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Jacob Hoffrogge and Regina Pats forward Cole Carrier battle for the puck in a Western Hockey League game at Westoba Place on Dec. 11 2021. (Photo by The Brandon Sun)

On July 14, 2022, Hoffrogge would be dealt for the first time in his WHL career. He was sent to the Everett Silvertips in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft.

In 23 games as a Silvertip, Hoffrogge would record two goals and two assists before finding himself on the move.

Kristin Ostrowski/Everett Silvertips Jacob Hoffrogge playing with the Everett Silvertips during the 2022-23 WHL season.

On January 9, 2023, Hoffrogge would pack his bags once again as he was dealt to the Edmonton Oil Kings in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2025 WHL Prospects Draft.

He would finish out the remainder of his 19-year-old campaign with the Oil Kings, registering 12 assists in 28 games with Edmonton.

Hoffrogge would return to Edmonton to begin his 20-year-old campaign before he once again was traded.

The Prince Albert Raiders acquired Hoffrogge on October 7, 2023 in exchange for a conditional sixth round draft selection in 2025.

Herald File Photo. Jacob Hoffrogge lines up for a face off across from Sloan Stanick during WHL action at the Art Hauser Centre in October 2023

Hoffrogge says his experience traveling from team-to-team was a positive experience looking back at it all.

“The people I’ve met and just going to new places, seeing what it’s like, I think that helped me a lot as well.”

After arriving in Prince Albert, Hoffrogge would skate in 60 games for the Raiders posting one goal and 17 assists.

Hoffrogge says he was faced with uncertainty entering the season, but he was grateful to land in Prince Albert.

“I came into my 20-year-old year, I didn’t know where I was going to be so it was nice to definitely have a home and I wouldn’t have spent it anywhere else because these guys were amazing.”

One trait that Hoffrogge brought to Prince Albert that didn’t show up on the scoresheet was leadership. During the majority of the season, Hoffrogge was penciled on the Raiders third defensive pairing alongside either Tyrone Sobry or Doogan Pederson, both were in their rookie campaigns in the WHL as 17-year-old players.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says Hoffrogge did a tremendous job with taking both players under his wing and being a great teammate as well as on-ice mentor.

“We just talked about that with the young guys, you need an older guy to step up and accept that role and teach these guys how to play. He was partnered up with those guys most of the year. I thought he did a real good job. He brought these guys along. He’s seen a lot of improvements in Pederson and Sobry. That’s a direct credit to him (as a) partner.”

Hoffrogge says he learned a lot about being a mentor during his time with the Raiders.

“I think it actually helped me as much as I helped them. It’s always nice to help the young guys and if they ever need something, you’re there for them and tell them something they can do better.”

During the Raider awards banquet late last month, Truitt spoke about Hoffrogge and the other graduating 20-year-old players.

“(Jacob is) one of the smoothest skaters I’ve seen in a long time, (and) fits right in.” Truitt explained. “He’s a real quiet guy, but we ask all of our players to come in and say good morning or whatever as they enter the ice. He probably never had to do that in his life, but he accepted our culture. The three 20-year-olds coming from different organizations to come in and accept the way we do things, they made an impact.”

As for his future plans, Hoffrogge has indicated that he would like to continue playing hockey at the university level.