MCH doctor moonlights for USA Hockey
Dr. Doug Weiss grew up loving the game of hockey.
He began playing it as a young boy in Greenfield, Mass. and went on to star at Deerfield Academy. His hockey career continued when he attended Dartmouth College, but that was just the beginning.
Weiss played five years professionally, including an invitation to the New York Islanders training camp. He had two stints in the East Coast Hockey League with the Johnstown Chiefs, as well as two seasons with the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League. He even went to the 1991 Olympic training camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. with Team USA Hockey in preparation for the 1992 Winter Olympics in France, just one year after playing for the USA Select Team.
But while his playing days are behind him, Weiss is still connected to the game that was such a big part of his life for so long. Weiss, a Dublin resident, is currently an orthopedic surgeon at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, but has also spent the last three-plus years as a traveling physician for USA Hockey.
“It’s a great way to see other parts of the world and be part of the sport that means so much to me,” said Weiss. “I’ve played hockey, so they know I have a sense for the game and the injuries. I have knowledge from a player standpoint, an injury standpoint and a medical standpoint as well.”
Following the end of his hockey career, Weiss went back to Dartmouth for medical school. He had always been interested in the medical side of athletics and decided to pursue a career in medicine.
“The last couple years I was playing, I realized I had good team doctors and trainers,” said Weiss.
Weiss was an assistant at Dartmouth and also spent 14 years, most of it during his playing days, hosting a summer hockey program for children. It first began in his home town, but eventually expanded to include locations in Redding, Mass. and Vail, Colo.
During his time at medical school and his residency and research year at UMass Medical Center in Worcester, Weiss did not have a lot of time to devote to hockey, yet it remained a passion.
“It was a huge part of my life and I got a huge satisfaction out of it,” said Weiss.
Weiss did his sports fellowship in Colorado in 2008, where he worked with the USA Ski & Snowboard Association. In 2009, with the help of a friend, Weiss was put in touch with Dr. Michael Stuart. Stuart is in charge of physician coverage for USA Hockey and Weiss wanted to be a part of it.
“I put it out there that I was interested in getting back involved with hockey,” said Weiss.
The two communicated by email and by the fall of 2009, Weiss had his first assignment. He traveled to Finland for a juniors event and has been on the short list of covering physicians ever since. He has worked with the U17 junior national teams and now covers the U.S. U18 team.
“In essence you’re their team physician and orthopedic surgeon,” said Weiss. “But I’ve been fortunate that they’ve stayed healthy for the most part. So far, its only been bumps and bruises.”
In February, Weiss accompanied the team to Sweden for the Five Nations Cup and one week from today, he will be on the bench for Team USA’s opener of the International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia — site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The team will play four pool games between April 18-23, opening up against Russia next Thursday. But Weiss could be there till the final day of the tournament, April 28, since the U18 squad will be going for its fifth straight gold medal in the event.
“They are very, very talented. Some will have a legitimate chance to play in the NHL,” said Weiss. “I just feel honored and privileged to cover these guys.”
And Weiss won’t be alone. His father, Bob, goes on all the trips and is even listed as the assistant equipment manager.
“He knows his hockey and he helps out in any way he can,” said Weiss.
It is the perfect scenario for Weiss. He loves his work at MCH, having been with Monadnock Orthopaedic Associates since September, but being part of a hockey team once again is a dream come true.