A week ago we were lucky enough to land yet another interview with a Rangers prospect. This time, I spoke to Shane McColgan, who just this summer was drafted in the 5th round of the 2011 Entry draft. Shane plays for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League and has put up pretty impressive stats, averaging almost a point-per-game in both of his seasons with the team. Keep reading to see what Shane had to say about being drafted by the Rangers, his thoughts on Traverse City, and more:
Adam: Obviously being drafted into the NHL by any team is an honor, but does it mean anything extra to be drafted by a team like the Rangers?
Shane: Yea it’s really cool. Getting my first experience at development camp seeing Mark Messier. Seeing pictures of guys like Jagr, Gretzky. Being a part of that is something that would be really cool and hopefully I can wear the Rangers sweater someday.
Adam: What influence did playing roller hockey have in your development?
Shane: Roller hockey had a pretty big influence. Being from Cali there isn’t much ice hockey and it’s really developed the skills part of my game and shot. So I worked on my ice skating and I already had the skills from roller so it was a pretty easy transition.
Adam: What was your experience at the USA World Junior evaluation camp like? What do you feel you need to work on or do differently to make the team next time?
Shane: I think playing summer hockey all summer… you don’t go as hard as you would during the season. So I think just being more into shape, more skating shape if I get invited back in December. I don’t think I had a bad camp but they wanted me to produce more offensively. But i played a good two way game and I have my head up so hopefully I have a good season in Kelowna and get an invite back in December.
Adam: You’ll be playing in Traverse City with the Rangers. What have you been told about the tournament and what are your expectations and goals?
Shane: I’ve heard it’s a really good tournament. I’ve had a lot of friends that have done it. I think there are 4 guys on my team in Kelowna who did it last year and are doing it this year. They said it’s a good tournament that helps you play against higher competition and play in an American style tournament. So my goals are to just have a good tournament and hopefully win.
Adam: What’s it like playing in a league like the WHL as an American?
Shane: It’s pretty cool. Being in Kelowna is a great spot for me. It’s not like Moose Jaw or a place like that… not that those aren’t great organizations, but it’s an easier transition from California. The coaching staff has been awesome to me. [Kelowna GM] Bruce Hamilton has been good to me and he has been a good mentor and has the right mentality for trying to win.
Adam: The Rangers seem to have a preference for Canadian Junior Leagues as opposed to the NCAA. Was the NCAA ever a consideration for you and what do you think is the reason for that preference?
Shane: Well first off for me the NCAA was definitely a considering being American. But it was between a couple of Colleges and the WHL wasn’t too much of a consideration until I talked to my agent. And when I was drafted by the Rangers… they think the CHL is more like an NHL schedule. We have 70 or so games as opposed to 34 or 36. So they think it’s just an easier transition to NHL hockey.
Adam: How do you plan on balancing your focus on your immediate goals with the Kelowna Rockets with the long term goal of earning a contract with the Rangers and eventually making the NHL? Or is that no even a concern?
Shane: Keep it just one day at a time and just focus on one dame at a time in Kelowna and having my mindset right. Play how I know how to do and hopefully I’ll earn a contract after the season, I just gotta work hard and not worry about the NHL too quickly. I just gotta focus on winning in Kelowna and eventually getting a contract.
Thanks to Shane for taking time out of his day to talk to us and thanks to the Kelowna Rockets for helping us get in touch with Shane. While it might be a long journey, Shane certainly has the talent to make it in the NHL, and if he does he certainly has all the makings of being a fan favorite. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk to him as a member of the Rangers roster in a few years.