~ Written by Jamie Neugebauer (@Neugsie), image courtesy Doug Klassen
In a hockey landscape of intensive structure, systems, and stress, Kindersley Klippers’ forward Charles Obobaifo is a breath of fresh air.
The talented winger has been at or near the top of the goal-scorers for the Klippers all year, and at the time of writing sits tied with Tylin Hilbig and veteran Noah Lindsay in that regard.
“Charles is a very fast, dynamic offensive player, who plays a creative and fun game to watch,” said Ken Plaquin, his head coach in Kindersley.
“I find him very refreshing and enjoyable to coach because he sees the game and the ice so differently than most players.”
Born in Nigeria, Charles’ family moved to Calgary when he was very young, and if his prodigious offensive skills are new to Saskatchewan hockey fans, they are not new to sharp-eyed observers of the Western Hockey League.
Obobaifo, a 2002 birth year, attended and impressed at two Seattle Thunderbirds camps in 2017 and 2018, and ultimately found himself as a key player at the well-regarded Edge Prep school in Canadian Secondary School Hockey in his hometown.
His travels after Edge found him in Sioux Falls, ND for the U16 AAA Stampede, as a dominant presence in Calgary U18 AA with the NWCAA Stamps, and then last year with the Sicamous Eagles of the British Columbia-based Junior B loup Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
Listed at 5-foot-8, and 170-pounds, Obobaifo uses his vision and lower-body strength to protect the puck as well as anybody in the league, and his creative genius has shown through as all five of his regular-season goals to date have been things of beauty.
“He’s great offensively,” said Nick Nielsen, the play-by-play voice of the Klippers.
“Defensively he needs work, but man is he fun to watch. (The guys on the team) always say how hard to defend one-on-one he is because he can just decide to go around you.”
The bloodlines in the family appear excellent as well, as little brother Aaron is off to a dominant 37-points-in-19-games start to his career at the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep in Minnesota at the 14U level.