The exceptional Shane Wright is headed to Texas.
One of 23 Canadian Hockey League talents who will represent the Great White North at the upcoming U18 World Championship hosted in suburban Dallas, the Burlington, Ont., native is excited for the opportunity to get back on the ice and follow up on a dominant rookie season that dazzled fans across the OHL.
Suiting up for 58 contests with the Kingston Frontenacs, Wright’s freshman campaign ultimately culminated with a team-leading 66 points that counted 39 goals and set a new franchise high-water mark for rookie goal scorers, surpassing the 36 tallies netted by then 18-year-old Bernie Nicholls in 1979-80. By season’s end, Wright stood atop all first-years from coast to coast and was a worthy recipient of CHL Rookie of the Year recognition.
Wright reflected on his rookie season, discussed how he plans to impress at the U18s, and more in the latest edition of the CHL Sunday Spotlight presented by WINMAR:
What was the biggest challenge in making the jump to the OHL?
The biggest challenge for me in making the jump to the OHL was the speed and the pace of play. It is older and stronger players and just the speed of play and the speed they make decisions at was definitely higher than it was in minors. That was definitely the biggest adjustment I had.
What was the most memorable moment from your rookie season?
My most memorable moment from my rookie season definitely was scoring my first goal. It is an answer that a lot of guys give but I feel that it is a huge accomplishment scoring your first goal. It really gets you excited and helps you feel like you belong in that league.
How can you impress in a short tournament like the U18s?
I think the key to excelling in a short-term competition like the U18s is definitely being able to jell as a team. The teams that come together quickest and find that chemistry with each other will have the most success. In playing with players that you may not have a played with before, being able to find that chemistry and to play the right way is really important.
How have you kept busy away from the rink?
I have been keeping busy away from the rink by just trying to find a few things away from hockey to keep my mind off the game. I have been going golfing a lot in the summer. I really enjoy that and being outside. I go with my buddies and it is something I love doing. It is something I am going to keep doing in the future as well.
Which NHL player do you model your game after and why?
Someone who I model my game after is Mathew Barzal with the New York Islanders. He is such a fun player to watch. He thinks the game at such a high level. He makes his teammates better. He is someone who I really look up to and someone that I really want to model my play after.