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Shayne O'Brien

About Shayne
 

Shayne has been a CT Crease coach since 2012 and is currently attending Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas pursuing a M.S Degree in Geosciences with a focus on Climatology, he would like to continue his education after and become a college professor. He became a CT Crease student in 2002. Shayne is from Wallingford, Connecticut and played for the Wallingford Hawks, Greater New Haven Warriors, Connecticut Clippers, Hartford Jr. Wolfpack, and Southern Connecticut State University.


To Players and Their Parents
 

     When I was a kid, lacing up the skates for the first time, I knew I wanted to be a hockey player. To many, being a hockey player means taking your love of the game, and playing for as long as you can until someday somebody pays you for it. We play pretend in the streets and in basements chanting our own names and hoisting whatever Stanley Cup we can build from household materials. Through nearly two decades in youth and amateur hockey, it became clear to me that I had passion for the game. What I really gained was a passion for success. Hockey and the people I’ve met through it have taught me a great many lessons. After 17 years of playing the game I loved, there came to me a moment of clarity, one that will come in the lives of a vast majority of hockey players.

I would never be a New York Ranger.

For many students of the game, this is not a thought that will cross their minds, nor should it. Dreams are what success is founded on, though for many of us, we find it in the most unlikely of places. Many people in the hockey community think about the result of every game. I can tell you that after a decade of youth hockey, I cannot recall the final score of a single solitary one. However, I do remember all of my time at the rink, and the time away in hotels and on busses and over teammate’s houses. These experiences are truly formative. As much as I remember hockey related coaching advice like “Bend your knees” or “Keep your gloves in front”, I also remember the ones that apply to life. “Stand up for yourself”, “Prepare well and you will see good results”, “The harder you work, the luckier you get”, “Be quick, but don’t hurry”. Most importantly, I remember the sacrifices in both time and money my parents made for me to play this game and learn these lessons. The only way to pay them back is to use the skills they gave so much for me to learn.  

I was very lucky to have a team at Southern Connecticut State University to play on. After making a name for myself on the ice after freshman year I was invited to run for and win a seat as a representative of the student government association, this taught me about leadership. From there I became the hockey team’s president, and later a captain. Hockey gave me the social skills and the confidence to be involved on campus; it was the best time of my life.

Now, for me, Hockey as a sport is firmly a part of my past. I moved to Kansas (174 miles from the nearest rink, I’ve checked) to attend graduate school. However, the memories I’ve made and the skills I’ve learned are with me every day (so are the bad knees). I think about all of the people I’ve encountered through my playing career. I take those lessons, and I apply them every day to be the successful person that I want to be.

The beautiful thing about Hockey is that eventually we all go pro, most times, in something completely different. However, the lessons we learn through the game, the people we meet, the coaches that devote their time to our success, and our parents who knew from the beginning they were raising a person and not just a hockey player, shape us. Hockey players are a breed apart. We wake up earlier, and go to bed later than anyone else. We fight for our goals unlike anyone else. We are taught to get back up when we fall down earlier than anyone else. For those reasons, and the passion we learn as children, every hockey player has the potential to be successful in life.

Regardless of what happens in our playing careers, hockey players all are given the tools from the very start to be successful, and to be proud of themselves. While for many, “making it” has a distinct definition. Whether or not our names are emblazoned on the back of a blue and red sweater in New York, we as hockey players will all make it in something. That’s what makes our game so special.

Good luck and keep dreaming, whatever those dreams may be.

-Shayne O'Brien