Ben Johansen breaks down his experience playing for the Sabers

by Ben Johansen

The San Diego Sabers will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life, the Sabers helped me not only develop as a hockey player, but I believe it also helped prepare me for the rest of my life and made me a stronger person. Playing Junior Hockey in San Diego gave me teammates that turned into family, and memories that will last a lifetime.

When I first met (Head Coach at the Time) and now General Manager Domenick Diccico I was just 18 years old, and I had been cut from every Junior Team in my area because I didn’t have the traditional Hockey background of playing High end “AAA” and was never the most talented kid out of all my peers. At the end of the day, I just needed someone to give me a chance to develop into the player I always knew I could be. From the first time I spoke to Domenick I knew that he was someone I could trust and he was going to have my back, and I was not wrong, I can count multiple times where Dom made personal sacrifices or made extra time for me and my teammates to make sure that we were as comfortable as we could be, and on a personal note spent hours with me going over game film and helping me become a more well-rounded player.

Before becoming a part of the Sabers organization, I had a dream of playing collegiate hockey and helping my family pay for my post-secondary education and the Sabers helped me make that a reality. Coach Dom helped me a lot with picking which schools I should look into, and what kind of questions I should have been asking coaches to find the right school that was the best fit for me not only as an athlete but also academically.

As for the City of Carlsbad, it is not only a beautiful place to live it is also filled with many amazing people who support the team such as the first-class rink staff and the host families who house the players. I have many fond memories of spending time in the city and being at the beach with my teammates, let’s say there are not a lot of places you can play high-level hockey and then be able to go to the beach after practice in December, especially for someone like me coming from Canada that was a very unique experience.

I would say the thing that stood out to me most during my time as a Saber was the organization's mission to create a great family environment not just in the locker room but all the way down from the coaches to the players and even including our amazing game day staff that maintain close relationships with the players and are also our biggest supporters, really putting an emphasis on being “One Team. One Family”. 

I would say to any players looking to advance their hockey careers to the next level this is an organization you want to be a part of and if you want it bad enough and are willing to work you will be rewarded with success.