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Former Forward for the MnJHL Ice Hawks focuses on his skills and studies at UMASS Dartmouth - Junior Hockey News

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Published: Tuesday, 7 Feb 2012
By: Amanda Marie Liesinger

Shaun Walters, a Minnesota Junior Hockey League Rochester Ice Hawks alumni, has continued his playing career with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Corsairs. Playing every game (20 GP) this season so far, the freshman forward (Plymouth, MI) has 3 goals and 5 assists. Shaun played three seasons with the Ice Hawks after high school starting in the 2008-09 season, playing a total of 146 games with 109 goals and 99 assists. In contrast to other players who may have started through a family influence, at four years old Shaun was inspired by the characters of The Mighty Ducks movie to start skating. He attended a small school and there wasn't a high school hockey program until his sophomore year. Shaun was actually one of the players that helped build the program and since then it has become a huge success. "I'm really proud of that," he says.

Another proud moment for Shaun was his first season with the Ice Hawks: "We had this great playoff series against the Granite City Lumberjacks. During the last game we were tied 1-1 at the end of the first period. At the end of the 2nd period we were down 4-1 and pulled through with a 'never day die' attitude. We won in overtime to win the MnJHL Championships."

A teammate of Shaun's got him in contact with UMASS Dartmouth and he built a working relationship with the coach. The coach and Shaun were in constant contact before he was accepted to play in the 2011 season, discussing the Corsairs' program and success with returning players. "College hockey was something I always wanted to do." He advises other players to keep their options open but when it comes down to it, make the right decision for yourself. "Make sure you like the campus and the coach. If this is something you want to do, do everything you can to pursue it. So far, for me, it's been worth it."

Even with his continued college career, Shaun remembers the feeling of uncertainty the summer after he graduated high school. He was unsure he was going to make a junior team. Even at the beginning of his first season with the Ice Hawks he played every other game. He dedicated himself and after the second half he focused on getting power plays and played every game. He continued to work his strength as a down and dirty player: "I'm not afraid to play in front of the net and I'll do what most players don't want to do. I'm not one of the prettiest players but I get the job done."

He also credits his parents for being a huge source of motivation. "They taught me to keep my goals in front of me and work as hard as I can to achieve them. They are the most supportive people in the world and a big factor in allowing me to play junior and college hockey."

He advises players trying out for a junior team again to keep their options open. "You want to be in good contact with the coach and hopefully he's already seen you play. When you're at tryouts, do everything to stand out. Do everything the coach asks of you even if it's playing every position."

Since he's been at UMASS Dartmouth Shaun sees the differences between junior and college hockey. "In junior hockey there is a lot of down time. The main purpose of your life is to play hockey. In college, school comes first. I spend more time on a schedule and focus on what my priorities are. You really have to grow up and tell yourself that you have to be responsible." His goal in the long term is to continue to push himself to approve his talent and skill. He doesn't want to look back at his four years and regret the time he spent there. With his education, Shaun is focusing on a Business Major and will decide his specific concentration soon.

It's definitely on the ice where Shaun feels the most comfortable. "It's not only the camaraderie with teammates and the friendships that I've developed, the rink is also a place to forget about the pressures from school work or elsewhere. It's about going out there and doing what I love."

In his free time Shaun also enjoys golf, fishing, and water sports. View his profile with UMASS Dartmouth or check out his stats from the 2009-10 or 2010-11 season with the Ice Hawks.


posted Feb. 7th, 2012 - 3:08pm
Dan Foss says:
Funny how it was his teammate who put him in contact with the college coach. Thought that was the job of the team he was playing for to help market him to the next level. Typical Ice Hawks story....three year player, does all the work himself. Tragic.

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* Article disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Amanda Marie Liesinger, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.

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