Kyle Shaw finds new life with OHL’s Niagara Icedogs

 

By Joel Charron

It’s been quite the year for Kyle Shaw.

The six foot, 210 pound, 19-year-old recent signed a contract for the Niagara Icedogs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) but his journey to the Icedogs is an interesting one.

Last year, Shaw headed into training camp with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, hoping to earn himself a spot on the team, however Shaw was battling a lot more than just the other players.

“When I went into camp in Sault Ste. Marie I actually had the West Nile Virus,” said Shaw.

The virus dropped Shaw’s weight down to around 170 pounds and noticeably affected his play.

“In camp, I was just tired,” he said. “The general manager said I looked tentative on the ice.”

After being diagnosed with the West Nile Virus, Shaw was placed on the injured list and began his recovery.

Shaw would return to the Greyhounds in mid-November only to tear a ligament in his ankle that would sideline him for the rest of the season.

“It was really frustrating,” said Shaw. “I only played 12 hockey games that year, I’m used to playing 50-60 games. It’s very frustrating when you can’t play.”

Shaw said after he recovered from the West Nile Virus he was so desperate to play, he would play

Kyle Shaw plans to make the most of his opporunity while he’s in Niagara.

25 pounds under his normal weight.

“I just wanted to be on the ice,” he said.

Shaw was eventually cut from the Greyhounds and he was left without a team to play for, however that didn’t stop the 19-year-old from pursuing his dream.

Shaw continued to work, building back his strength and endurance, hoping a suitor would come knocking for his services.

While Shaw played for Sudbury during 2009-2011 he caught the eye of Top Draft Sports Management president and CEO, Shane Sullivan.

With Shaw’s illness and injury last year, Sullivan never got to see Shaw play but remained in contact with him and his father Joe Shaw.

Sullivan invited Shaw to Kingston for a showcase camp back in July.

“We invited him down to get some exposure to some OHL scouts and some NHL guys who were in attendance,” said Sullivan.

In four games at the camp, Shaw tallied 10 points and a fight.

“He impressed the heck  out of the NHL guys and some of the OHL scouts,” said Sullivan. “I knew I really wanted to get him on board with us.”

Shaw would eventually hire Sullivan as his agent.

Two days after the showcase camp, Shaw received a phone call from the Niagara IceDogs asking him if he would like to sign with their franchise.

“As soon as the camp was over I called Marty Williamson (Niagara general manager and head coach) and told him that he had to get this kid,” said Sullivan. “He fits Marty’s mold to a tee and he fits how Niagara plays.”

After getting limited ice time with Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, Shaw said the Icedogs are looking for him to be a “top effective player for two years.”

It’s a situation that has Shaw feeling at ease.

“I’m going into camp with a lot of confidence,” he said. “It’s a lot easier going into camp knowing that you’re already on the team.”

With only two years of eligibility left in the OHL, Shaw plans on making the most of his opportunity.

“When you go through all the stuff I went through last year and to get the chance that I have now, it makes you appreciate everything that much more,” stated Shaw.

Shaw heads to training camp sometime in August, in the meantime he continues his work out routine in the offseason.

“I’m completely healthy right now and ready to go,” said Shaw. “It’s pretty exciting knowing that I’m going to be getting some solid ice time.”

The Niagara IceDogs open their season at home on Thurs. Sept. 20 against the Erie Otters.

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