Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Puckpourri: Silvertips, WHL Playoffs, UAH and a guy named Calvin

                                            Everett Silvertips (Photo: Su Ring)

The Everett Silvertips are in Kelowna, BC for Games 3 and 4 of first round WHL playoff action. The 'Tips ride a 2-game lead into Kelowna, winning the first game 5-4 in overtime and the second game by a decisive 5-2 score over the Rockets. I wrote up the first two games for a story on the big KING 5 website. Click here and you can read the whole thing. I went to Game 2 Saturday night and sat with my friend Brynna in the nosebleed section (Section 217 to those of you familiar with the seating at the Cable Box). I think my favorite parts of the game (aside from the scoring) was watching play by play guy Jon Rosen lean out of the broadcast room each time the game got exciting. I was kind of worried that he'd actually topple over the ledge, but luckily, he kept his balance. Tonight's game starts at 7. The pre-game show starts at 6:35, I think, over on KRKO-AM (NorthSound 1380). Or, you can listen online at the Silvertips' website. Just click here. Or, you can watch the game live online, at the WHL's website. Just click here. (See how easy I make it for you to keep up?)

Other WHL teams in action tonight:

Tri City Americans v. Chilliwack Bruins:  7pm Pacific time. Tri City manhandled Chilliwack in Games 1 and 2. The Ams won Game 2 by a score of 8-1. 8-1! Brendan Shinnimin had a hat trick in that game. Todd Kennedy had 2. Eric Mestery and Jordan Messier also added to the Ams blowout. Justin Feser had 3 assists. Can we call that a "hat trick" of assists? Why not! Young goalie Drew Owlsey had a shootout going. Well, technically, he kind of still has a shootout in this game, as Chilliwack scored on Alexander Pechurskiy late in the 3rd. I know, it doesn't count on the scoresheet. So what.

Calgary Hitmen v. Kamloops Blazers: 7pm Mountain time (please don't make me break it down by time zone). Calgary's actually down 2 games to 1, which is surprising to most and shocking to some. But don't count the Hitmen out. They're not one of the league's top teams for nothing.

Brandon Wheat Kings v. Swift Current Broncos: 7pm Mountain time. Brandon won the first two games at home. Matt Calvert scored two goals for the Wheat Kings and assisted on 2 other goals in Game 1. A guy named Schenn (Brayden) also scored for Brandon in Game 1. Schenn also scored in Game 2, along with 4 other guys. Swift Current scored 2 in the first game and 3 in the second, so don't count them out either, especially in front of  a home crowd.

Vancouver Giants v. Kamloops Blazers: 7pm Pacific time. One useful thing I learned from the "Today" show during the Olympics is that crooner Michael Buble is one of the Giants' owners. I may be the only hockey fan on the PLANET who didn't know that, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I did not know, until he and Matt Lauer suited up and fired some shots during one contrived segment. I think I like Buble a little more, knowing that he's a hockey fan. Anyway... Vancouver won Games 1 and 2 before a home crowd. (Game 1 went to OT). Now, they're in Kamloops, hoping to keep their winning ways going. Craig Cunningham factored majorly for Vancouver in both games. We'll see if he continues his scoring streak. Meanwhile, here's that segment featuring Michael Buble, Matt Lauer, and a few Giants:

Kootenay Ice v. Medicine Hat Tigers: 7pm Mountain time. Kootenay won the first two games at home. (Am I sensing a trend here?). Now, they have to show they can do it on the road, blah blah blah, just like I wrote for every team above. I just checked out the sheet for Game 2 and noticed 21 PENALTIES, including 3 10-minute misconducts. Do these teams not like each other or what? I also noticed several "checking from behinds" and 2 "unsportsmanlike conduct" calls. Hmm... these two teams might be worth going to see in person, if you're anywhere near Kootenay or Medicine Hat. I'm not, but I might be willing to pay for the live streaming video on the WHL's website. Once again, if you're interested in any of these games, you can follow the score tracker or watch online at the WHL's website. Just click here. If you'd rather watch or listen via a specific team's website, go to the WHL's site anyway-- you can click on any team logo to visit their site.

The other WHL US Division match-up I'm following pits the Portland Winterhawks against the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs won the first two games - IN PORTLAND - and drop the puck tomorrow night at home for Game 3. Kyle Beach scored twice in Game 1, including the game winner late in the 3rd period. He didn't score in Game 2, but went to the box several times. It's worth it to watch the streaming video just to see what he'll do next.

UAH: An undeserved honor?

                                CHA Champs! (Photo: UAH Chargers)

Several blogs have taken aim at my would-be alma mater, the University of Alabama Huntsville (I say "would-be" alma mater because I did not graduate).  Late last week, an article appeared in Puck Daddy's column suggesting that UAH didn't deserve to be in the NCAA tournament. You can read it for yourself by clicking here.  Today, our friends at From the Rink took a slightly different view of UAH's CHA championship and seeding in the NCAA tourney. Click here to read that story. For those of you interested in watching the Chargers, they play Saturday at 1pm Pacific (figure out the other time zones for yourself) on ESPNU.  They'll take on Miami (OH), a CCHA team. I know people who have kids at Miami, but I hope that UAH just crushes them, and gives the CCHA a face wash while doing it. Sorry, I'm still choked about all the stupid happenings from last August. Want to follow the team? The best way to do it is to support the group SAVE UAH Hockey. Click here to visit their wonderful site!

CONGRATULATIONS go out to Seattle Thunderbirds Head Coach Rob Sumner, who's been selected as an Assistant Coach for Team Canada's Under-18 team heading overseas to compete next month. I wrote something up about this for the KING 5 site. Click here to read it. Good Luck, Coach!

And last, but certainly not least! 

                                                 Calvin Pickard (Photo: Mick White/Kent Valley Sports)

CONGRATULATIONS go out to T-Birds goalie Calvin Pickard for being named the Western Conference finalist for the WHL Goaltender of the Year award. (His brother Chet is a past winner of this very same award). Calvin's also been named a Western Conference First Team All Star. His teammate, the very talented Prab Rai (a Vancouver Canucks prospect), has been named a Second Team All Star.  Calvin is currently the top ranked goalie by NHL Central Scouting for the 2010 NHL Draft. I wrote a nice story about Calvin, his brother Chet and their dad Bill a few months back. Since there may be some of you who have not read this story yet, I've linked it again. Just click here. I'm quite proud of it-- and thank the Pickard family again for such candid interviews and cute pix of their boys as budding young hockey stars.

I guess that's it for now. As always, I welcome your feedback. Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Puck Talk: Chargers, 'Tips, buzz cuts, Bertuzzday Award... and Tokarski

Chargers Wait

The UAH Chargers are waiting to hear where they'll head to kick off the NCAA Division I hockey tournament, after beating the Niagara Purple Eagles 3-2 in overtime in the final championship game of the CHA division, which is now no more. The Chargers could play in Albany, NY, St. Paul, MN, Fort Wayne, IN or Worcester, MA. I know I'm not the only UAH fan who hopes the Chargers meet a CCHA team in the first round-- and just creams them! Eh. I know it's sour grapes at this point to still be upset that the CCHA denied UAH's application to join the division, but it still rankles to feel like the odd man out, after Niagara and Robert Morris went to the Atlantic Division and the WCHA took in Bemidji. It's not even that the CCHA had no room - it DID, because UNO decided to move from the CCHA to the WCHA. Again, it's water under the bridge, but still. GO CHARGERS! Follow the NCAA tourney by clicking here. Follow the Chargers and re-live all the goals from the CHA Championship on SAVE UAH Hockey's website. Just click here. In the meantime, here's a great shot of a victorious Chargers team posing again with the CHA trophy back home in Huntsville.

                                 Chargers Victorious! (Photo: UAH Chargers)

BTW, I wrote a passionate (well, I think so, anyway!) blog about the Chargers' cloudy future back in August, when news broke of CCHA's rejection of UAH. It mentions a bit of history, especially during my years at UAH. If you want to check it out, click here.

Silvertips prepare.

                                            Silvertips (photo: Su Ring)

The Everett Silvertips are preparing for a playoff run that many hope will end with the boys bringing the Memorial Cup home to Western Washington. Everett goes into the playoff with a 46-21-3-2 record; Kelowna has a 35-31-2-4 record. But when it comes to playoffs, records really don't matter, do they? Who's gonna have the heart and drive to make it to the next round? The Silvertips have played the entire season with lots of heart and great teamwork. Throw in Shane Harper's 42 goals and 38 assists, along with great work by Kellan Tochkin (28G/48A), Tyler Maxwell (33G/36A), Byron Froese (29G/32A), some great defense by Radko Gudas and company, and steller netminding from Kent Simpson and San Jose prospect Thomas Heemskerk. Kelowna will bring power from the likes of Brandon McMillan (25G/42A), Tyson Barrie (19G/53A), Shane McColgan (25G/44A) and goaltender Adam Brown.  If you're anywhere within driving distance of either city, I suggest you take in a game (or 3). You won't be disappointed. You can follow all the WHL playoff action by clicking here. And if you have any doubt as to who I'm cheering for in the Memorial Cup run: GO 'TIPS GO!

'Tips ready to bare... their heads

Speaking of playoff runs, the Silvertips are shaving their heads to prepare for the post-season. In fact, a few will get buzzcuts LIVE, tonight during the Silvertips weekly radio show on KRKO NorthSound 1380. Among those getting shorn are play by play guys Jon Rosen & Al Kinisky, and LW Scott MacDonald. Wanna watch? Go to Sporty's Beef & Brew in Everett tonight before 6:05 (that's what time the show starts). Click here for more info.

Bertuzzday Award!

In my last post, I lashed out at the Penguins' Matt Cooke over his nasty hit on Marc Savard last week. By now, we've all heard the rant by Don Cherry (see my last post if you haven't). Now, the good folks at NBC's Pro Hockey Talk have named Cooke as the recipient of its first ever "Bertuzzday Award."  Good stuff. You can read more by clicking here. Many kudos to writer James O'Brien. If his name sounds familiar, you may know him from his other blog, "Cycle Like Sedins." He's over on my blogroll so check him out!

Tokarski talks!

                                 Dustin Tokarski (Photo: Mike Carlson-AP)

I don't know if I'm saving the best for last, or if this is just how it turned out, but my good friend Cassie McClellan from "Raw Charge" just interviewed Norfolk Admirals (former Spokane Chiefs) goalie Dustin Tokarski. If you follow the WHL at all, you know the name. In addition to helping lead Spokane to the Memorial Cup in 2008, he also backstopped Team Canada to its 5th straight gold medal in the World Juniors last year. (Another WHL star, Thomas Hickey [Seattle T-Birds/Manchester Monarchs] was Captain of that glorious team!). 

Anyway-- here's a link to Cassie's interview with awesome Tampa Bay prospect Dustin. Awesome stuff.

Tuesday Talk: Chargers, 'Tips and some cool links

The UAH Chargers are waiting to hear where they'll head to kick off the NCAA Division I hockey tournament, after beating the Niagara Purple Eagles 3-2 in overtime in the final championship game of the CHA division, which is now no more. The Chargers could play in Albany, NY, St. Paul, MN, Fort Wayne, IN or Worcester, MA. I know I'm not the only UAH fan who hopes the Chargers meet a CCHA team in the first round-- and just creams them! Eh. I know it's sour grapes at this point to still be upset that the CCHA denied UAH's application to join the division, but it still rankles to feel like the odd man out, after Niagara and Robert Morris went to the Atlantic Division and the WCHA took in Bemidji. It's not even that the CCHA had no room - it DID, because UNO decided to move from the CCHA to the WCHA. Again, it's water under the bridge, but still. GO CHARGERS! Follow the NCAA tourney by clicking here. Follow the Chargers and re-live all the goals from the CHA Championship on SAVE UAH Hockey's website. Just click here. In the meantime, here's a great shot of a victorious Chargers team posing again with the CHA trophy back home in Huntsville.

                                 Chargers Victorious! (Photo: UAH Chargers)

BTW, I wrote a passionate (well, I think so, anyway!) blog about the Chargers' cloudy future back in August, when news broke of CCHA's rejection of UAH. It mentions a bit of history, especially during my years at UAH. If you want to check it out, click here.

Now, on to exciting post-season hockey in the WHL. The Everett Silvertips are preparing for a playoff run that many hope will end with the boys bringing the Memorial Cup home to Western Washington. They kick off a "best of seven"-game series against the Kelowna Rockets this Friday (March 19) at Comcast Arena, more affectionately known as the "Cable Box."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Puck-Pourri: UAH, Silvertips, T-Birds & ONE BAD COOKIE

Three cheers go out this weekend-- and one very loud, resounding BOO.

First Cheer: University of Alabama Huntsville Chargers hockey team

                                Your 2010 CHA Champs: UAH Chargers (Photo: UAH)

UAH beat Niagara last night 3-2 in overtime to claim the CHA Championship crown and a berth in the NCAA Division I hockey tournament. This is the second CHA trophy for the team from Huntsville and an amazing way to cap a season that began under a cloud of uncertainty. The CHA was dissolving and other divisions were absorbing teams into their folds. UAH requested to join the CCHA, which had an opening, but the CCHA declined, leaving UAH with two options at the end of the season: continue as an independent or fold. We still don't know exactly what's going to happen, but the group SAVE UAH HOCKEY has been working hard all season to keep us updated and also offer up ways to support the team and the program that made UAH the "Hockey Capital of the South" for a more than a quarter of a century. Click here to catch up on SAVE UAH HOCKEY's great works. And: GO CHARGERS GO!!!!

Second Cheer: Everett Silvertips (WHL)

                                Everett Silvertips (Photo: Frank Deines III/Everett Silvertips)
The Silvertips are one win away from claiming the US Division and Western Conference championships, after shutting out the Chilliwack Bruins 5-0 in their last home game of the regular season last night. Shane Harper opened the scoring in the first, with his 41st goal. I lost count, but I think this is also something like the 20th game in which he's scored the first goal. Harper scored again in the third, notching his 100th career goal. Chris Langkow, Byron Froese and Captain Zack Dailey also scored, while goalie (and San Jose signee) Thomas Heemskerk stopped all 25 Chilliwack shots for the shutout. For a more complete play by play, click here for an "official" recap. I don't know who wrote it, but they did a very thorough job. The Silvertips could clinch the abovementioned championships with a win tonight in Spokane. 'Tips fans should also thank the Chiefs, because Spokane knocked off Tri City 5-4 last night, thus toppling the mighty Americans out of the top spot and opening the door for Everett to sneak through.  You can listen to the game on the radio at KRKO-AM, NorthSound 1380.  Jon Rosen is sure to provide the exciting play by play. If you're a Chiefs fan, you will no doubt tune in to Mike Boyle on Sports Radio 1510 KGA.

Third Cheer: Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

                                Seattle Thunderbirds (Photo: Mick White/Kent Valley Sports)

The Seattle Thunderbirds deserve a big cheer for pushing through a very tough season. They'll close out the season tonight against the Vancouver Giants and salute their supporters with Fan Appreciation Night.  As of right now, the T-Birds' record is: 18-41-7-5 and 41 points. The team is heavy on youngsters, including about half a dozen 16-year-olds.  Star Goalie Calvin Pickard is 17 years old. Anyone who's been to even a handful of games knows how heartbreakingly close some of the losses were and should be confident that the team can only go up from here. Think about all those youngsters who now have a full season under their belts; a full season of life away from home, a grueling 72 games, travel and personal growth. Things can only look up for this young team! Want to cheer them on tonight? The game starts at 5:05pm at ShoWare Center in Kent. Click here to access the T-Birds' website and buy a ticket! This may be your last chance to see veterans Prab Rai, Jeremy Schappert and Lindsay Nielsen on the ice. To re-live the high points of the season through photos, click here to check out Mick White/Kent Valley Sports' amazing photo galleries!

Now, to the resounding BOO.

It pains me to criticize any player from one of my favorite teams, but I cannot be a good hockey fan if I don't. I'm talking about that vicious hit by Penguins' Matt Cooke that knocked Boston's Marc Savard out indefinitely with a serious concussion. If that wasn't bad enough, the NHL decided NOT TO PUNISH HIM FOR IT. I've been a Pens fan since the late 80's, but I wholeheartedly disagree with this. Matt Cooke should have been suspended and for more than a few games. The league needs to crack down on this kind of viciousness or someone is going to get killed. That sounds dramatic, but it's true. And in case you missed it, Don Cherry tackled the subject (and showed the hit) last night on HNIC. Here's the video. Go ahead and watch it, I'll wait.

The part that really gets me is that Cooke doesn't seem to care. That makes him more than a dirty player. It makes him downright dangerous. Even his own teammate Bill Guerin thinks he should have been suspended. Click here to read the story.

The thing that bothers me even more is the chatter that flooded Twitter after the NHL decided not to punish Cooke. A good number of people think a fitting retaliation is to have teams try to take Sidney Crosby out; in short, to hurt a player who had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ORIGINAL HIT. How is that fitting retribution? What is this, the code of Hammurabi, hockey-style? (A star for a star, instead of an eye for an eye?).

Just as I said I would not be a good hockey fan if I didn't call out crappy & dangerous plays by members of a team I love, I say this:  Anyone who thinks hurting Crosby would make up for Cooke not being punished, DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE A HOCKEY FAN. You are stupid and ignorant if you believe this is a good idea, and even if you are my best friend, I do not want to know you.

Please - place the blame where blame truly goes: to Matt Cooke for being a dangerous punk and to the NHL for not being strong enough to stand up and do what's right.

That's all for this week. As always, I welcome your comments.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

WHL: Silvertips playoff tickets on sale Thursday

News release below from the Everett Silvertips, who are in the playoffs! Even better- they sit atop the WHL's Western Conference as we head into the final week of regular season play.  Read on to see when and how to buy playoff tix (act fast, I know they'll sell quickly!).  There's also info about Fan Appreciation Night next Saturday against the Chilliwack Bruins!

                                                      (Photo: Su Ring)
Everett Silvertips News Release
Everett Silvertips Vice President / General Manager Doug Soetaert released the club’s ticketing information for the 2010 WHL Playoffs, which begins at home over the weekend of Friday, March 19th and Saturday, March 20th against an opponent to be determined.  Single game tickets will go on sale Thursday morning, March 11th, at 10:00 AM at the Silvertips offices, online at www.everettsilvertips.com, and via phone at (866)332-8499. Tickets will also be available at noon Thursday at the Comcast Arena Box Office.

The Friday, March 19th game will begin at 7:35 pm, while the Saturday, March 20th game will begin at 7:05 pm.

Fans may also purchase an eight-game playoff package, available by calling or visiting the front office.  The eight-game playoff packs allow fans to save up to $100 off normal ticketing prices while avoiding extra fees. A priority number for the 2010-11 season will be established by picking up one or more playoff packs, which range from $110 (orange-level upper bowl seats) to $180 (blue-level lower club seats).  To speak with a Silvertips representative about package and ticketing information, please call (425) 252-5100.

Pre-ordered packages will be available for pickup at the BECU Guest Services Table outside Section 116, beginning with Friday’s game against the Seattle Thunderbirds, and all of next week at the Silvertips offices.  Playoff packages will be on sale through 5:00 pm on Friday, March 19th.

The Silvertips have made it easier for groups to join the playoff atmosphere at Comcast Arena, as parties of ten or more now qualify for discounted group rates.  All group tickets, regardless of location throughout the arena, will be on sale for $15.  Please call a Silvertips representative at (425) 252-5100 for more group ticketing information.

Individual tickets for further home playoff games will go on sale at a later date.  Please check www.everettsilvertips.com for up to the minute ticketing and playoff information.

The Silvertips close out the home portion of the regular season at Comcast Arena – Everett against the Seattle Thunderbirds at 7:35 pm on Friday, March 12th on Monster Energy Drink Cowbell Night, and against the Chilliwack Bruins at 7:05 pm on Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday, March 13th.  To reach a Silvertips ticketing representative, please call (425) 252-5100.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Puck-pourri

Some odds and ends to wrap up a pretty uneventful week. Speaking of uneventful, the general consensus is that the NHL trade deadline was less than stellar. I don't know. I'm not an expert.

Mueller as an Av (Photo: Reuters)

I do know that former Silvertip Peter Mueller is no longer a Coyote (much to some fans' chagrin). But he made quite an impression on Avalanche fans by scoring his first goal in his first game with Colorado. He also sounded pretty enthusiastic in an interview during the first intermission. Of course, anyone going to a new team would want to make a good impression, so wouldn't really bad mouth a move, so I guess only time will tell with Peter.

Riley Armstrong (the player whose number you can't see)

Former Silvertip Riley Armstrong is on the move as well. We all know Riley signed with Calgary this season, following half a dozen years in the San Jose Sharks organization. He was having quite a year with Calgary's AHL team, the Abbotsford Heat. Calgary big wigs seemed to think so, too, because they traded him to Detroit, in exchange for Andy Delmore. To check out Delmore's numbers, click here. I may get to catch up with Riley after he's settled in Grand Rapids, his new home for the rest of the season. I'll post an update if this works out. Meanwhile, click here for the last interview he did with me, shortly after he arrived in Abbotsford.

Shane Harper (Photo: Frank Deines III)

Current Silvertip Shane Harper is celebrating. Well, he's not actually celebrating yet- he's focused on helping the 'Tips finish the regular season strong and steamroll through the playoffs. But, we're celebrating for him!  The Philadelphia Flyers signed Harper to an entry-level deal. Not bad for a kid who was not drafted, either for the WHL or NHL.  Want to know about his youth hockey experience? Click here.  Click here to read an interview he did with me last season. Good kid. Good work ethic.

Bud Holloway (Manchester Monarchs)

Former T-Bird Bud Holloway is sharing his journalistic talents, along with his hockey skills over in Manchester. Not only is he having a stellar season with the Monarchs, he's also writing a blog and interviewing teammates. Click here to watch him chat up Justin Acevedo. Meanwhile, Bud's Manchester (and Seattle) teammate Thomas Hickey showed off his reading skills by taking part in "Read Across America."  He and several teammates visited a local elementary school to entertain students. Click here for more information. It's a good think Thomas is keeping his brain matter healthy, as he is still listed as "month to month" with an "upper body injury."  He's actually recovering and rehabbing from shoulder surgery in November.

I interviewed WHL US play by play guys Jon Rosen (Silvertips), Thom Beuning (T-Birds) and Andy Kemper (Winterhawks) for a story. I'm still trying to catch up with Craig West (Americans) and Mike Boyle (Chiefs) so I can wrap this thing up and post it.

L-R: Lew, Betty, Ed, Jay (Photo: Ed Petrullo)

Nice job by T-Birds off-ice officials Betty Petrullo, Ed Petrullo, Jay Carbon and Lew Sellers, who helped keep track of Olympics men and women's hockey games!  They worked their butts off and blogged about their experiences at the same time! Now that the Winter Games are over, you can sit back, relax and relive some of the more exciting moments through their eyes. To read Betty's blog, click here.  To read Ed's blog, click here. To read Lew's blog, click here.

The T-Birds teamed up with Microsoft for the 12th Annual Hockey Challenge to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. They ended up raising more than $100,000 for the charity in a series of games last Saturday, culminating in a Celebrity All Star Game featuring celebs like former Mariners' catcher Dan Wilson, actors Michael Rosenbaum (“Smallville”), Jason Thompson (“General Hospital”); 2006 US Olympic hockey bronze medalist Kelly (Stephens) Tysland; media personalities Bill Wixey (Q13 Fox News); Ian Furness (KJR 950AM & play by play announcer for WHL games on FSNW) and former T-Birds Jamie Huscroft, Al Kinisky, Regan Mueller, Blake Knox, Lloyd Shaw, Pat Smith, Danny Lorenz and Ryan Gibbons. KING 5 Sports Anchor Paul Silvi coached one of the All Star teams.  To read more, click here.

I think that's it for now. If more happens before this day ends, I'll add to it. Happy Hockey!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

WHL: Interview with Shane Harper (originally posted February 2009)

(Photo: Frank Dienes III/Everett Silvertips)

I'm re-posting my first interview with Shane Harper (Everett Silvertips) here because the original interview seems to have vanished from the KING 5 website. It must have happened they switched systems. Anyway, lots to learn about this soon-to-be Flyer below:
If you’ve been to an Everett Silvertips game the last few seasons, you may have noticed him:  a scoring machine flying up and down the ice, making plays that end in goals for the guys in green.  If you haven’t seen Shane Harper in action yet, then get your tickets now, because he’s eligible for the NHL Draft this year and I predict he won’t be hanging around Comcast Arena much longer.
The season is 53 games old and Harper has already racked up 24 goals and 27 assists for a total of 51 points.  He’s scored 50 goals in his Silvertips career; only the third ‘Tip to reach that mark.  Read any write up of an Everett game and I guarantee you’ll see his name somewhere in the story.  (I highly recommend Nick Patterson’s Silvertips coverage in the Everett Herald).
So, Harper can skate.  He can score. He can make plays.  Not bad for a kid who grew up in Southern California and started his hockey education on roller blades.  Switch to ice, team up with The “Great One’s” kids, and let the talent start flowing! (By the way, Shane was selected to represent Team USA at the Under-18 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic in 2006.  Team USA brought home a silver medal)
Here, Shane Harper takes a few minutes in between games to share his road to the WHL, the Everett Silvertips, and the upcoming NHL Draft.

About growing up playing hockey in southern California:
It was right on the rise of the hockey boom because when I started playing , that’s when (Wayne) Gretzky was playing for the LA Kings, so a lot of kids wanted to play hockey and we loved going to watch Wayne Gretzky play at the Great Western Forum.
Did watching Gretzky play influence your decision to play hockey?
It didn’t make me decide. I played all the sports growing up, all the usuals like soccer and baseball, all the normal sports and then my parents found a flyer to go play roller hockey. It was an outdoor rink, on top of the boards where was a chain link fence. It was a real simple rink and then I started playing roller hockey there.
What made you decide to move inside for ice hockey?
About a year later, I loved playing roller hockey so my parents decided to sign me up for ice hockey and that’s where the Kings actually practiced, in Van Nuys.  I played, actually, with Gretzky’s son and daughter. They were on m y team, ah just by chance.
Describe your transition from growing up playing hockey in Southern California to really getting serious about playing hockey and transitioning to the WHL.
I played locally for years and then when I started getting better around the age of Pee Wee, I started playing for the Junior Kings down in El Segundo-LA area, and that’s when I became more serious. I was like, around 13 or 14 and that’s when I started to travel a lot. And then, 14, 15, that’s when I played for the California Wave and we traveled all over Canada, to some WHL cities and that’s when I made the transition. 
It’s obviously a pretty big jump, you know, playing minor hockey to playing in this beautiful rink and having a lot of people watch you play. It was a lot different and the speed of the game is very fast, but it’s an amazing thing once you get to play here. It’s a lot of fun.
About his big night- December 28, 2008 in Chilliwack (scoring his 100th WHL point)
This year’s obviously been a good year for me.  Last year, I kinda broke out, I guess; showed what I could do. The first years were a little slow, I guess, because it’s hard to get used to the league, but this year I just stepped it up a little bit more and hopefully I can keep it going.  (Note: Shane was voted Most Improved Player by the Silvertips in 2007).
Who’s been the biggest influence in your hockey career so far?
My parents.  Gretzky was one of my favorite players but I never had a close hockey (mentor). I kinda took my own path and my parents have always been there to support me.
You’re eligible for the NHL draft this year. Any thoughts or dreams about where you want to play?
I would just love to play in the NHL anywhere but I guess if I had to pick I’d love to play for the LA Kings. That would be pretty awesome.
What can people expect when they come to a game at Comcast Arena for the first time?
Fast-paced action.  I know a lot of people who don’t watch hockey don’t realize how fast it is once you get there. There’s a lot of hitting. When I sat out this pre-season and watched a game, I was pretty impressed. It was really fun to be there, actually and just watch. I liked it a lot.
Describe your style of play:
I’m in an offensive role. I’m supposed to produce and score for my team and obviously be viable on defense, be responsible in my own end and then when we get the puck in the offensive zone, I’m supposed to make plays and produce.
Some firsts:
First WHL goal:
It was in Portland. It was my first year, before Christmas (December 13, 2005). The D-man shot it from the point and I tipped it in for my first goal. 
First win that you played a part in:
My first game ever was in Kamloops and the next game after that, I believe was at home. So it was my first ever home game, I believe and we won so that was pretty neat.
Is there a loss that still kinda stings a little bit?
Two years ago in playoffs when we lost to Prince George. We were up two games and they went on to beat us 4-2 so that was pretty hard to take.
You mentioned Wayne Gretzky. What did you like about him, aside from the fact that he was great at everything he did?
Yeah.  Another thing was—he’d come out to our practices. He even came out to my birthday one year because I invited everyone on the team to my birthday when I was seven years old and he actually came and brought me a bunch of gifts so aside from the fact that he was a great player he was an awesome guy.
Who’s your favorite player now?
Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Kovalev. I’d say Alex Kovalev is my favorite player and Pavel Datsyuk is my second favorite player.   You can’t even describe the way they’re gifted offensively and the hands they have, the way they can maneuver the puck, it’s like they’re magicians, it’s unbelievable to watch.
A friend who writes about the Red Wings calls this one scoring play the “Datsyukian Deke”, because he’s just so good at the net.
Yes. He makes goalies look like they’re in Pee Wees.
Favorite “away” arena:
I know we haven’t played there much but that new Kent (ShoWare) Arena. I always like playing in Kelowna.  I really like that arena a lot.
You had a really good night that first night at ShoWare Arena (January 3, 2009). You had two goals.
One goal they disallowed.  I would have had a hat trick. I ended up with two goals and an assist but they disallowed a goal so that was a bummer.
Favorite thing to do when not playing hockey?
My favorite thing to do when the weather’s nice is go play golf.  When I was a freshman and sophomore in high school I played on my golf team in Valencia so that was pretty fun. I don’t really have a handicap anymore.  I don’t play very often but I’ll shoot in the 80’s on a par 72.
Favorite bands or songs that get you ready to play:
It always changes but lately I’ve been listening to Coheed and Cambria.  A band I always like to listen to is System of a Down.

Shane Harper is a rocker. He certainly likes to rock the rink, especially in the opposition’s end.  So, get your tickets and get a first-hand look at the show.  And if you get the chance to say hi to Shane, tell him Happy Birthday.  He just turned 20 on February 1st.  Then sit back and let the celebration begin!