For three years, Shayne Morrissey has been heading down a path he hopes will one day lead him to hockey’s professional ranks.
But unlike many of his peers who choose to go through the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the 19-year-old from St. John’s is looking at a route through the American college system.
“Playing pro is important to me, and I’m going to continue to become a better player so I can achieve that goal one day,” says Morrissey “but by playing NCAA hockey, I get an opportunity to get a high quality education.”
Consider them priorities 1 and 1a, if you will.
Morrissey’s already been in contact with five U.S. Division 1 schools — each offering a scholarship of some sort — although he won’t say which institutions have shown interest.
“One week I could be on their list, the next week they might have someone else in mind,” says Morrissey.
“I’m taking it one step at a time.”
There’s still debate about whether Morrissey should make the move to NCAA next season, or play out his junior eligibility with the Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canada Junior A Hockey League, his home since a trade from the Saskatchewan junior league’s Battleford North Stars last season.
With the numbers he’s putting up so far this season, no doubt fans in Carelton Place, a small town south of Ottawa, would like to see him stick around for a while longer.
Morrissey has 53 points, 22 more than anyone else on the Canadians and good for second place in the league overall. And just 23 games into his schedule, he’s already been the league’s player of the week on two occasions.
“I’m more than happy with the way things have been going so far,” said Morrissey, who played major midget hockey in Newfoundland with the Tri-Pen Frost. “We’re not even halfway through the season. Hopefully I can keep it up.”
Part of his success this year, Morrissey says, stems from focusing on upper-body workouts with trainer Steve Curnew in the off-season, helping add muscle to his frame, listed at 175-pounds and a generous five-foot-nine.
“In one-on-one battles, I feel a lot stronger and a little more confident going into the corner knowing I have enough strength to come out with the puck, or use my body to get position in front of the net.”
Always with an eye for improving himself and becoming a more complete player, Morrissey has also picked up his play on the defensive end.
There’s been added boon to being more conscious of play in his own end.
“Since I’m putting myself in better positions defensively, I’m generating better offensive chances for myself at the same time.,” he said.
Trick shot has made him a video star
Regardless of whether Shayne Morrissey makes it as a pro hockey player, he’ll already have enjoyed 15 minutes of fame — and possibly $25,000 in prize money.
When TSN and Advil teamed up for the promotional contest “Highlight of the Month”, Morrissey submitted a video of himself performing a crafty trick shot at the end of an Xtreme Hockey School practice two summers ago.
The video, which has been viewed over 40,000 times on YouTube since being posted over a year ago, shows Morrissey picking up a puck with the butt end of hockey stick, swinging the stick around a few times before hopping over it, flipping the puck in the air and batting it into the net.
Through the Carleton Place Canadians’ partnership with the local minor hockey association, Morrissey and some of his teammates offer clinics and ru practices for minor clubs. Since the contest started and work circulated, a day doesn’t go by where he’s asked to do the shot.
“Even parents want to see it,” admits Morrissey.
“I enjoy fooling around with the puck and I know the kids enjoy seeing it. You get a nice reaction out of them.”
He’s done the stunt so often that he can literally almost do it with his eyes closed, but admits hitting the falling puck out of mid air is nearly impossible.
Morrissey has already won $1,000 for being selected as one of 10 finalists and can claim the grand prize if he garners the most votes.
To vote, go to advil.tsn.ca and look for Morrissey’s video titled “Fun at Xtreme Hockey.
You must be of the age of majority and need to register to vote, but you can vote as many times as you like. A vote also makes you eligible for a chance to win $5,000 prize.
The voting period ends midnight Sunday.