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By JAMES TUBB on January 22, 2022.
New Lethbridge Hurricane Corson Hopwo wants to say thank you to Medicine Hat.
“I just want to put an emphasis on how thankful I am for the city and what everyone has done for me in this city and how nice people were,” Hopwo said. “I can’t thank everyone who made a difference in my time in the Hat enough. I Just want to say thank you to everyone.”
The longtime Tiger said that Monday was a tough day filled with difficult goodbyes as he was traded from the team that drafted him to the Hurricanes ahead of the Western Hockey League’s trade deadline. But, he said it leads toward exciting things.
“My previous years in Med Hat have been the best four years of my entire life, and Medicine Hat definitely will be a great memory I will always have,” Hopwo said. “It was definitely tough but it’s going into exciting things as well.
“I’m really excited to start something new here.”
Selected in the seventh round of the 2016 draft by the Tigers, Hopwo played 170 games in orange and black amounting 43 goals and 96 points over four seasons. Hopwo said him and Tigers head coach and general manager Willie Desjardins talked early this season about the opportunity of him going to a playoff team as the Tabbies had taken a step back in the standings.
Those talks, Hopwo said, came just before he was injured on Nov. 20 with an upper-body ailment that kept him out of the lineup until Dec. 28. Once the Tigers returned from their Christmas break, he said it sparked things up again and it came together at the deadline when he was moved for Logan Barlage and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft.
Hopwo said he’s very excited at the chance to make a playoff run with the Hurricanes. He said it’s going to be a fun time as he thinks he is a playoff-type player and wants to get more post-season games to his name.
“Especially being my last year I want it to be a Memorial year and I think with only having six games under my belt in the playoffs throughout my whole career, it’s going to be a fun time,” Hopwo said.
Even though he went to a division rival that he’s battled with for years, Hopwo said he happy to be there. He said there was some awkwardness the first day as he met guys with his new club, but they laughed off some of the battles and differences they’ve shared.
“But now we’re going to become great friends I think, knowing that we just chuckled between us and now it will be funny memory,” Hopwo said.
Multiple Tigers after the trade reflected how much character and leadership Hopwo brought to the Tigers.
Forward Tyler MacKenzie said Hopwo’s work ethic and intensity in practices and games is something made an impression on him.
“He’s always honest and he’s battling every day in practice. For us as a team being so young that’s a great thing to learn,” MacKenzie said.
Hopwo said it was heartwarming to hear guys feedback on his personality and what he meant to the team. He said he hopes his impression on the organization is a hard-working mentality and being a character guy that anyone could talk to.
“I wanted to be the best character guy on the team and for a younger guy to come up to me and talk and know they’re comfortable with just the team and everyone around them,” Hopwo said.
Tigers fans will get to see Hopwo at Co-op Place soon, as the Hurricanes visit on Feb. 19. Hopwo said he’s already circled the date on his calendar and is looking forward to being back where his career started.
“Definitely excited to get back to the Hat and definitely see everyone,” Hopwo said. “It’s going to be different being in the visitors dressing room and seeing everyone on the opposite side but I’m excited.”
When asked how hard this season was in Medicine Hat, Hopwo stopped before saying he loved every second of being a Medicine Hat Tiger.
“I think back to my first year and all the years leading up to – including this year, I loved every second of it and I don’t think I would take anything back or add anything,” Hopwo said. “Medicine Hat will be always a part of me.”
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