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Vesey Chooses New York!

Sunday, August 21, 2016, 5:48PM

Upon winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, New York Rangers broadcaster Sam Rosen exclaimed, “The waiting is over!” Fast forward to August 2016 and he, and all Rangers fans can repeat that sentence as the Rangers came to an agreement with prized rookie free agent Jimmy Vesey on a two-year, entry-level contract worth an annual average value of $925,000. The deal also includes $1,925,000 in performance bonuses per anum.

Vesey spent the week meeting with the Rangers, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Boston Bruins.

The organizations pulled out their heavy-hitters, such as the Islanders’ John Tavares, Toronto’s Auston Matthews, and Chicago’s Patrick Kane, in an attempt to sway the recent Harvard graduate.

Boston brought Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, and Torey Krug, to its meeting with Vesey but it was all for naught.

In a Friday evening conference call, Vesey expressed his reasons for choosing the Big Apple.

“I talked to the New York Rangers and their staff and they don’t expect me to be a savior. (They) just want me to help them win hockey games,” Vesey said. “I am very pleased to be a part of the New York Rangers organization. Based on our talks I think New York was the right fit.”

“It was definitely a tough decision. Myself, my agent and my family were very impressed with the Rangers.”

While Vesey went through the interview process, many believed he would sign with various organizations based on his friendships with players and/or members of their managements.

With the Rangers, it was fellow Massachusetts native Kevin Hayes who spoke with Vesey on what to expect if the soon-to-be NHLer signed with New York.

“Obviously, I’m good friends with Kevin Hayes,” Vesey explained. “He’s someone I’ve known since childhood. We played a little bit together growing up and we work out and skate together in the summer.”

“I talked to Kevin a lot,” said Vesey, who played a role in Team USA’s gold medal win at the 2013 World Junior Championships. “He went through the same process as me two years ago (Hayes was drafted by Chicago but chose to sign with the Rangers after his senior season at Boston College), so I leaned on him a lot during the process. He had a big impact on me.”

Influence also came in the form a former New York captain and New England native Chris Drury, who hails from Connecticut, like Vesey he won the Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the outstanding NCAA player each season.

“Chris Drury was someone I was really impressed with during the meeting with the Rangers,” said Vesey. “He’s someone I respect a lot based on what he’s done in his career.”

To say that Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton was a happy would be a big understatement.

“It’s a very exciting day for us,” said Gorton. “”He (Vesey) has the ability to score, make plays. I think he can come in and play.”

Due to the salary cap, the NHL has become a younger league than it was before it was instituted in 2004. All of the clubs have been forced to shed veteran players and bring in younger, less experienced athletes. The same is true for New York. Signing the highly-touted Vesey gives them a high draft pick (3rd round, 66th overall to Nashville, 2012 NHL Entry Draft) without trading a pick or players and unlike most draft picks coming out of junior or leaving college early, the forward is ready for top six minutes and responsibilities.

“It was an opportunity with a real good player that became available and help replace some of the depth we had in the past,” said Gorton. “We’re really excited to get a player like this.”

“Training camp is almost upon us, we’ll see where it goes. We think we have some good youth and this helps with that.”

Follow ESPN New Hampshire’s NHL Writer, Shawn Hutcheon, on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.

 

Vesey Wins Hobey Baker

Monday, April 11, 2016, 11:24AM

The Hobey Baker Memorial Award announced today the 2016 recipient of college hockey’s top individual prize is Jimmy Vesey from Harvard University. The announcement came during the NCAA Frozen Four championship in a live ceremony held at historic Tampa Theatre in Tampa, Florida and aired nationally on NHL Network.

For Vesey (pronounced VEE-zee), the second time is a charm as he was a Hobey Hat Trick finalist a year ago when he led the nation in goal scoring. Two is a prominent number for the senior captain of the Crimson. For two straight years Vesey has been named ECAC Player of the Year, Ivy League Player of the Year, ECAC First Team all-conference and winner of the Walter Brown Award as the best American-born player in New England.

Jimmy Vesey finished the season recording 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points in 33 games. Over the past two years, he has scored more goals than any other player in college hockey – 56, after bagging a nation’s best 32 last season. It was a happy day on campus a year ago when Vesey spurned offers to turn professional in order to return for his senior year as a student-athlete. However, he did play alongside many pro players when he represented the U.S. in the World Championships last May.  He was a third round draft pick of Nashville of the NHL.

A dynamic offensive talent as his stats verify, Vesey was an impact player in all phases of the game. Regular shifts and power play duties were the norm, but he was often underestimated in his defensive responsibilities. Vesey was a fixture on the penalty kill and was widely recognized as the hardest worker on the team. His compete-level made Vesey a difference maker. 

A native of North Reading, Massachusetts, Jimmy is a Government major and has been ECAC All Academic every year. Off the ice, Vesey helped raise money for the Travis Roy Foundation and the Franciscan Hospital for Children. He provided manual labor at Cristo Rey High School in Boston to prepare it for the school year and volunteered time with local youth teaching them to skate.

Vesey has spent the past 4 summers playing in High End Hockey's 3 on 3 league and skates in the HEH Summer Pro Group.

 

Sheary Gets Call To NHL!

Thursday, December 17, 2015, 4:12PM
Shawn Hutcheon
High End Hockey Journal - Editor
@ShawnHutcheon

Every so often, you hear a name of an up and coming player and you look forward to seeing him play and when you do see him, he exceeds all expectations. Such is the case with Pittsburgh Penguins rookie forward and High End Hockey participant Conor Sheary.

Sheary has spent the last three summers training on the ice under the watchful eye of High End Hockey owner Jon Hutcheon but before that Sheary’s name began making the rounds when he led Cushing Academy in scoring in his sophomore season of prep school hockey and continued his scoring exploits through his senior year.

After graduating from Cushing, the native of Melrose, Massachusetts took his talents to the University of Massachusetts and Hockey East, where he produced 104 points on 38 goals and 66 assists in 138 career collegiate games.

Upon finishing his four years at UMass in the spring of 2014, Sheary was signed as a free agent by the Pittsburgh Penguins and assigned to their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

He learned the pro game in WBS under former Boston Bruins coach Mike Sullivan and continued to produce offensively, registering 70 points (26 goals, 44 assists) in 84 total games.

While Sheary was in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the big team in Pittsburgh was in the process of making some changes on and off the ice with the addition of Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer, a move that in the eyes of many made Pittsburgh an instant Stanley Cup contender.  However, when the club got off to a slow start and coach Mike Johnston was relieved of his duties on December 12th Sullivan was elevated to bench boss in Pittsburgh.

Another change was the loss of forward Pascal Dupuis to recurring blood clots. A physical condition that led to Dupuis announcing he could no longer play hockey the same week Sullivan took the reigns.  On December 15th, Sheary got the call to the NHL and found himself en route to his hometown of Boston, where he met his new teammates one day before he would play in his first NHL game against the Bruins at TD Garden.

“I had practice (Tuesday) morning in Wilkes-Barre and right after practice coach pulled me into his office and told me I was coming up,” Sheary said. “It was really exciting. I didn’t even know what to say to him. I lost my words. I was just really excited and obviously, a little nervous but the whole day was just pure excitement.”

Unfortunately for Sheary and the Penguins, the whirlwind ended with a 3-0 loss to Boston.

“It’s been a kind of exciting past couple of days, yesterday coming into Boston and knowing I was going to play tonight, it was pretty special and to get the first game under my belt in my own city was pretty cool.”

Despite the Penguins losing the game, Sheary felt he played well, using his speed to his advantage.

“A huge part of my game is my speed and tenacity, I like to use those out there,” he said. “I am just trying to use it at this level as well, and I tried that tonight.”

Not only did he try but succeeded as he opened the game on Pittsburgh’s fourth line, but was moved up to the team’s second line with Evgeni Malkin and Kessel in the second period.

“I think we (as a team) weren’t scoring so I think coach just wanted to mix up the lines a bit, and I obviously got the opportunity to play with those guys, which is pretty cool, and they make a lot of plays and it’s fun to play with those guys.” Sheary said after the game.

“They helped me out, and would say ‘hey did you see me there?’ Or whatever it was on the bench, but for the most part it’s just go play hockey and make plays.”

After the game, Sullivan did not hesitate to voice how pleased he was with Sheary’s effort.

“I thought he was terrific,” the coach said. “I thought he was on the puck, he was quick, he forced turnovers, he was skating. I thought he brought us some juice.”

It is not etched in stone, very little is in the NHL when it comes to rookies remaining in the lineup, but if he continues to provide that “juice”, Conor Sheary may have found a permanent home in Pittsburgh and you can be sure you will be hearing his name mentioned on a more constant basis.

 

Stempniak Leading Way For Devils

Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 12:24PM

By Rich Chere | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on December 15, 2015 at 11:22 PM, updated December 16, 2015 at 7:42 AM

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It may have looked like Devils winger Lee Stempniak was showing off in front of his family and friends. Hanging on the crossbar after scoring the go-ahead goal? That seemed out of character for the West Seneca boy made good.

Actually, he was making every effort not to step on Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark after scoring in the Devils' 2-0 win at First Niagara Center, not that far from where he grew up.

"I felt like I was going to step on his his hand. His hand was there and I just didn't want to step on him," Stempniak explained. "Hopefully it wasn't taken the wrong way."

That's not to say Stempniak wasn't thrilled to score his eighth goal of the season in front of 20 family members, including his mother, father, aunts, uncles and cousins.

"It's nice. That will definitely make it a little more fun to see my family after the game," he said. "It's fun to score at home, fun to see your mom and dad after a game in which you score a goal. It's a huge win for us, too."

"We didn't play our best against the Islanders. We came back and had a good response. We weathered the storm at times, but did enough to get the win."

It may sound odd that a 32-year-old NHL veteran still like scoring a goal in front of his parents, but it's not.

"It's like fun. I guess you would look at it like you're playing a kid's game," Stempniak explained. "It's certainly a job and we get paid well to do it and there's a lot of pressure, but it's like the father's trip. You go to the rink with your dad.

"They've been there with you through every step. My parents sacrificed their social life, working overtime almost their whole life just to give my brother and I the chance to play hockey and have a better life. It's fun to be able to share a moment like this with them."

 

Pro Hockey Players LOVE 3 on 3!

Sunday, August 30, 2015, 10:32PM

Pro Players “Love” 3 vs 3 Hockey     

- Shawn Hutcheon (High End Hockey Journal)

The next time you go to an ice rink mention the words “three on three hockey” and wait for the reaction.

If you are sitting/standing next to a hockey parent, odds are very good he or she will have a strong reaction upon hearing those words. Some will tell you how they loved watching their eight-year-old develop as a player by playing the half ice games that consist of three skaters and a goalie on each side while others will say that the concept is ruining hockey.

In 2009, USA Hockey introduced the idea of cutting the rink in half in order to give youngsters a game that is more suited for their skill levels much the same as Little League baseball and other sports have their young athletes play on smaller fields to correlate with their age, size, and strength levels, while learning how to play the game.

The three on three cross ice hockey game has been around longer than six years. Ironically, it has been used by high school, midget, junior, college, and professional coaches to help their players become quicker skaters, along with better stick handlers, passers and shooters.

Three years ago, High End Hockey founder and owner Jon Hutcheon came up with idea of organizing a three on three summer league for professional, college, and midget/high school players with the focus on skill development and while there are those who do not want to admit that small area games will not benefit their 8-year-old, those who play in the HEH summer league beg to differ.

Joe Whitney is one of those players.

Whitney was an offensive force during his four years at Boston College, amassing 142 points in 161 collegiate games. He moved on to the pro ranks in 2011 when he signed with the New Jersey Devils, who sent him to their American Hockey League affiliate, Albany Devils. In four seasons with Albany, Whitney produced 208 points in 277 games. Whitney has also seen action in five NHL games with New Jersey, however, this past July, he bid adieu to the Devils and signed a two year contract with the New York Islanders.

With the numbers Whitney has put up and a new contract, one might think he would spend his summers in the gym and begin skating just prior to heading off to training camp, but he has become a High End Hockey 3 vs 3 League mainstay.   

“This is my third year of playing 3 on 3 hockey and it’s the best thing I do all summer,” said Whitney, who is a native of Reading, Massachusetts. “It’s a lot of fun. There are a lot of good guys down here and it’s a good hour and fifteen minutes of making plays and scoring goals. We’re trying to expand a little. It’s (reputation of the High End Hockey 3 vs 3 league) out there and these next couple of years, it should be stronger. We had four teams this year (in the pro division) and had a lot of good pro and college players, so I think it will grow next year and we’ll get more teams with quality players.”

“I think it’s good because you play on the half ice. It’s (the game) is in tight (areas) and you get a lot of touches of the puck and a lot of chances to score, which a player needs to work on so all in all, it’s been a good experience. I look forward to next years because High End Hockey does a very good job of organizing the league up.”

Steve Whitney followed his brother Joe to Boston College, where he posted 128 points in 162 games. After graduating, Three years ago, Steve signed with the Anaheim Ducks and was assigned to the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals. He will return to Norfolk this season to ply his skills for the Admirals, which has become a member of the ECHL. A swift and agile skater, the 24-year-old forward uses 3 vs 3 hockey to improve his skating skills.

”I definitely love coming down and getting a little three on three in,” Steve said. “It’s only half ice and everything happens pretty quickly. You gotta think pretty quickly, make your play right away. It really helps with your reactions and skating, such as tight turns.”

Will O’Neill patrolled the blue line for the Winnipeg Jets AHL team, St. John’s IceCaps, for the last three-plus years, where he accumulated 107 points in 206 games. In July, he became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. O’Neill spent the summer preparing for his first camp with Malkin, Crosby, and the rest of the Pens, by playing 3 vs 3 hockey.  

”It’s good to out there in a tight area,” said O’Neill, a native of Salem, Massachusetts. “In cross ice areas, you get a lot of touches of the puck and you’re playing against good players with good goalies. You get a lot of shots and a lot of (scoring) chances. It’s good to be out there. Jon Hutcheon does a really good job organizing it. All in all, it’s good hockey, a lot of fun, and we’re looking to expand to six teams next year.”

Like the Whitneys, Conor Sheary, is another member of the NCAA’s 100 point club. He produced 104 points in 138 games during his four years at the University of Massachusetts. Sheary completed his first full season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate last season, where in 60 career games, he has registered 45 points but the postseason has been the Sheary show. His 23 points in 23 playoff games has made the brass in Pittsburgh sit up and take notice of the 23-year-old forward.

Despite his offensive accomplishments, Sheary has become a High End Hockey 3 vs 3 veteran in order to improve his puck handling abilities.

”This is my third year in the league,” the hard shooting forward said. “I liken it to a really good skill session. You get to skate on a half ice rink and move the puck around a little bit. Work on your hands in tight areas. It was good competition with the four teams filled with pro guys and college guys.”

As one might imagine, there is plenty of offense in a small area game and goaltenders see a constant barrage of pucks come their way but former Hockey East star netminder, Clay Witt, likes the action.

”It replicates game situations like three on ones and two on ones,” explained Witt, who will stop pucks for the Utica Comets of the AHL this coming season. “It’s high tempo, you get a lot of scoring chances so, if you can stop at least 75 percent of those, I think you’re going to be good for the season. Like the other guys said, this level of hockey is high and you always want to make those important saves against those guys.”

And there you have it.

Some youth hockey parents may object to 3 vs 3 small area games but those who have risen to the game’s highest levels are proof that not only is it a concept that is past due, It develops players and it is here to stay.

What’s that you say? These players are good but you won’t be convinced until an NHL player talks about small area games, particularly 3 vs 3.

Look at what Harry Zolnierczyk of the Anaheim Ducks has to say, “I love this. Great competition. Great fun. It’s a great way to work on your game in tight areas. Next summer, I’ll bring enough NHL and AHL guys to fill two new teams.”

Oh yeah, 3 vs 3 hockey is here to stay.

 

 

Moses' Next Stop...Nashville

Tuesday, August 11, 2015, 9:09AM

Stevie Moses has been a goal scorer for every team he has played for, from the Boston Junior Bruins, to the University of New Hampshire, to Jokerit in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League but, like every kid who laces on a pair of skates, the native of Leominster, Massachusetts, has always dreamed of scoring goals in the National Hockey League.

After taking a somewhat circuitous route, Moses will get that opportunity this season with the Nashville Predators, who signed the winger to a one year contract, shortly after he scored what has become known as The Goal of the 2015 IIHF World Championships. A backhand goal vs Finland that went viral soon after he scored it.

Moses completed his college career in 2012. It was a career that saw him score 47 goals and 98 points in 148 games. That type of production would see him continue his career in the American Hockey League.

“I signed an ATO (Amateur Tryout contract) with the (New York) Rangers to play for the Connecticut Whale in the AHL to get some games in,” Moses said. “I learned a lot. There were some ups and downs the whole time I was there. You realize it’s a business and I remember some long bus trips and times I’d practice with the team and travel with them, and then not play in the games, so you learn a lot in that short period of time.”

After his brief stint in the AHL and with an NHL lockout looming on the horizon, Moses decided to accept an offer from Jokerit to play in Finland’s top professional league, the Finnish Elite League.

“My agents did a really good job and the hockey world kind of knew the NHL lockout was coming that following season, so I had the opportunity to go to Jokerit, which was one of the premier organizations in Finland,” Moses explained. “Jarmo Kekalainen, who is the general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, was running the show there (Jokerit) at that time and he kind of went out on a limb for me and offered me a contract to go there, and it was a really good opportunity for me, and it really worked out, so, that’s how I ended up over there.”

“That first year was during the NHL lockout so we wound up having Erik Karlsson and Valteri Filppula. Two guys who were already NHL stars. They were on our team from the beginning so I remember being around them and I played on a line with Val (Filppula) and his brother, Ilari, who’s a great Finnish player, so I was lucky enough to be able to play with some really great players, who made it pretty easy for me to adjust and I gained confidence and started feeling good about myself, and the role the coaches gave me, certainly made the adjustment easier.”

During Moses’ second season in Finland the team announced it was joining the KHL and would begin play the following season.

The announcement led to some uncertainty and Jokerit struggled through its final season in the Finnish Elite League but a new general manager took the reins and put together a team that successfully entered play in its new league.

“During my second year in Jokerit, they announced the team would be were moving from the Finnish Elite League to the KHL, so that was a little bit of a bumpy road for the organization and the players that were involved,” the 26-year-old winger said. “Nobody knew who would be back or what the team would look like the following year so that caused kind of a down year for the organization. We didn’t have a great year and I struggled as well, A lot of that had to do with the uncertainty of going to the KHL also Kekalainen had left to go to Columbus and they (Jokerit) hired Jari Kurri, who is a Finnish legend, and he did a really nice job of building a new team. The team that joined the KHL only had five players that played on that Finnish Elite League team the previous season and I was lucky enough to be offered a new contract by Kurri so I was very happy and honored to move to the KHL with team.”

“Right from the get go, both from an individual standpoint and for the team, we made a pretty seamless transition and started winning games right away.”

That seamless transition for Moses opened the eyes of NHL scouts as he started scoring goals in bunches. The speedy winger finished his first season in the KHL as the circuit’s leading goal scorer with 36 lamplighters. His efforts earned him a spot on Team USA in the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championships, from which, Moses and his teammates brought home bronze medals. Soon after, Moses realized his dream when he signed his first NHL contract with the Nashville Predators.

“When I left (for Finland), I had told my agents my dream was to play in the NHL and I didn’t shy away from that,” Moses said. “When people asked me, while I was playing in Europe, I always said I was happy to be there and enjoyed my time there but the goal was always to come back and probably half way through last season in the KHL, I was having some success and leading the league in goals and we started to hear from some NHL teams and then the momentum started to move forward and it looked like it might become a reality. As the season went along, we spoke with several teams and we, my agents and I, tried to put us in the best position that I could be successful in because I’m not going to be an 18-year-old rookie with time to develop, I’m going to need to be a guy who can come in and play, or not, but Nashville was the organization that I thought was going to give me a chance and that’s all you can ask for so, it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to.”

Moses also received a little help from one of his Team USA teammates.

“I played in the World Championships with Seth Jones, who’s been a big part of the (Predators) organization,” said Moses. “I think he’s going to be one of the best defensemen in the league for a long time. He’s an incredible talent so I got to know him as a player and as a person and he speaks highly of all the guys in that dressing room, and I’ve heard from people outside the organization such as Bobby Butler, we were teammates at UNH, and everyone has said that locker room has a core of really good guys and Shea Weber’s one of the better captains in the league. I don’t know a lot of those guys personally, I’ve heard good things about the room and the people in there so, I’m definitely looking forward to getting to know those guys.”

“They (Nashville) have a lot of good players, and coming into training camp, I expect to go in and play and that’s why I chose that organization,” Moses explained. “There were other organizations that I spoke with but with the direction that Nashville is going right now, it’s an up and coming market that has had good teams the last couple of seasons and I like the structure that they play. They’ve got a chance to win and that’s how that came about.”

Like all players entering their first NHL training camps, the rookie has set high expectations for himself.

“My expectation is to play and to be successful but, obviously, I’m cautiously optimistic, I would say,” Moses revealed. “I know I have to go and perform well enough to be successful. Nothing’s going to be given to me but I feel that I have a good chance.”

For Preds fans wondering what to expect from the Massachusetts native, Moses describes his style of play.

“I try to be humble and be a good teammate,” Moses said. “I try to bring some excitement to the game and create offense. I like to shoot the puck and have been able to score goals earlier in my career, hopefully, that will transfer to the next level so I’m going to try to play the same I always do, fast paced, get a lot of shots, and create offense, and at the same time, try not to be too much of a liability, defensively.”

Predators General Manager David Poile sees that, and more, in Moses.

“In Steve, we saw a player with great speed and goal scoring ability,” Poile said in an email to HEHJ. “We believe his style of play fits in well with the Predators system and makes us a more dangerous team offensively.”

A more dangerous team that is adding a humble athlete, who is part of a group of athletes that is known for its sincerity when interacting with fans and it is easy to see why that may be true when the topic turns to those who have influenced them and Moses, like all hockey players, does not hesitate to answer when asked who has been the most influential people throughout his hockey career.

“First and foremost, has been my father (Steve Sr.),” Moses said with pride. “He’s been right next to me the whole way and has supported me. My whole family has but he’s been an unbelievable influence. He’s been at every game and watching every game he couldn’t get to. He’s also the first person I call after every game. We have a pretty special relationship.”

“Of course, there were other people I played with, and for, growing up. I played for Chris and Peter Masters with the Boston Jr. Bruins and I stay in touch with them, and obviously, the guys at UNH, coach (Dick) Umile and coach (Scott) Borek. I learned a lot from them and, of course, from others throughout the course of my career and now, with Jon Hutcheon, I can come here (High End Hockey), skate and work out. That goes a long way for a lot of us, who, as you get older, you don’t have those summer camps or tournaments but you still need to work on your game and I try to get on the ice as much as I can and it’s been a big help to come here.”

“There’s been a lot of people during the course of my career that I have to thank but like I said, in the beginning, it’s really your family and for me, my father and mother (Tammy) have been unbelievable.” 

As an undrafted college star, “unbelievable” may be the best word to describe Steve Moses’ journey from New England to Nashville where he will, no doubt, fulfill Poile’s words.

 Written by: Shawn Hutcheon (High End Hockey Journal)

 

High End Hockey and TSR Hockey Team Up to Present 5000 Shot Challenge

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 6:47PM

Quick, name three of the hardest shooters in the NHL. No doubt, you mentioned Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara, Nashville Predator Shea Weber, and/or Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin.

Known to possess the hardest shots in the league, all three have certainly raised the pulse of a goaltender, or two, when the puck is about to be released off their sticks.  And when one of those shots elludes a netminder, you can hear people ask, “How does a player shoot a puck that hard?”

Like any other hockey skill, shooting a puck with velocity and accuracy is not something someone is born to do. It takes practice. A lot of proper practice.

And that is where High End Hockey and TSR Hockey come in.

High End Hockey is headquartered at the Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury, Massachusetts and trains players from mites to NHL players with the sole goal of giving them the tools to improve their games.

TSR Hockey has been the premier hockey retailer in New England since 2000 and has locations in New Hampshire (Salem, Concord, Hooksett) and Massachusetts (Haverhill, Lawrence, North Andover).

Since players who participate in High End Hockey’s programs have also been customers of TSR Hockey, it made sense to HEH owner Jon Hutcheon, and TSR owner Brendan Sheehy, to team up and present a program that would help hockey players improve their puck shooting skills.

“This is our third year of the 5000 Shot Challenge, a summer program where a player has 12 weeks to shoot 5000 pucks,” explained TSR Hockey’s Marketing Manager, Julie Dalton, who not only works in hockey but also plays on a women’s team named, The Ms. Conducts. “It’s (5000 Shot Challenge) sponsored by Bauer. Years ago, Brendan Sheehy’s father worked at Bauer so they (Bauer) donate whatever their newest stick is and we do prizes throughout the course of the event. We have ‘Sniper of the Week’ where a participant is awarded a $15.00 gift card to TSR and a 30-minute shooting lesson at High End Hockey and even if you’re not chosen for Sniper of the Week, you still get a t-shirt for participating.”

“The goal is to keep kids shooting all summer to get them stronger and more accurate shots. There’s no cost to join and the benefit to TSR is creating a community event for kids to join and stay active and it brings people back in to turn in their sheets, which charts their progress. One of our goals at TSR is to be like the old TV show, Cheers, where everybody knows your name. We’re a community store and very much like a family.”

The history between High End Hockey, TSR, and Dalton herself, go back a few years which made it the proverbial, no brainer, that HEH and TSR work together on the venture this summer.

“Over the last couple of years, Jon (Hutcheon) has coached my sons, my daughter, and myself, on the ice and in shooting lessons, so it was through that relationship that everyone agreed that HEH should be involved in the Challenge,” Dalton said.

“He’s (Hutcheon) enthusiastic and provides us with weekly shooting videos. He makes it fun because he works with players of all ages, youth to adults. He makes the Challenge relatable. His videos show how to execute the different shots and also shows college and pro players, who train with him, properly shooting pucks. As an added bonus, if a Sniper of the Week doesn’t live within the area, he films a video, specifically, for that player, so for all of those reasons, it’s a win/win situation for all involved.”

As the owner of High End Hockey, Hutcheon is very happy to have HEH engaged in the 5000 Shot Challenge but, more importantly, as a coach, he believes in the program.

“We became involved this year and really like being able to teach the techniques of shooting to players of all ages,” said Hutcheon, who coached the 2013 18-Under Neponset Valley River Rats to the USA Hockey Tier I national championship. “We have a large synthetic shooting area at Breakaway Ice Center, where we conduct our lessons and since kids love to shoot pucks, they really enjoy learning the techniques that will give them more accurate and harder shots, which should result in their scoring more goals when the season begins.”

Hutcheon is also excited about the popularity of the videos.

“The Video of the Week gets posted to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook each week and we’ve received great feedback from players and parents,” Hutcheon continued. “They’ve been fun to film and the players, who participate in them like Maury Edwards (UMass Lowell/Straubing, German Elite League), Pat Mullane (Boston College/Assat, Finland SM Liga), Joe Whitney (Boston College/New York Islanders), and Brian Dumoulin (Boston College/Pittsburgh Penguins), among others, have been great and we really appreciate their cooperation.”

Hutcheon revealed there is more to come.

“After the 5000 Shot Challenge is completed, we’re planning on continuing with the videos and expanding them to include instruction in hockey’s other skills such as skating, puck handling, passing and many more aspects of the game.”

It is clear that the HEH/TSR Hockey 5000 Shot Challenge is, not only demanding, but educational and fun.

What better way to learn about shooting a puck than from a national championship winning coach and professional players on your computer screen, then going out and applying what you have just learned. Not to mention, the prizes you can win for participating.

If you have not started the Challenge, it is not too late to start, just go to tsrhockey.com and click on 5000 Shot Challenge and do not forget to watch the videos on HighEndHockey.com or by following on Twitter at @HighEndHockey.

Ok, so, who will be hockey’s next hardest shooter?

 

 

Is Conor Sheary The Next Tyler Johnson?

Thursday, May 28, 2015, 12:36AM
Article writen by The Hockey Writers

Penguins’ Conor Sheary: The Next Tyler Johnson?

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a tendency to trade away draft picks, season after season. Given this tendency, their farm system is running out of promising young players. Most prospects are in the NHL at this point or looking to move up within a season or two.

With the lack of draft picks, it’s been surprising to see the Penguins not place any more emphasis on scouting undrafted college and international players.

But the Pittsburgh Penguins might have to send waves of praise to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins during the upcoming season.

Who is Conor Sheary?

The 22 year-old forward is rather unknown to most Penguins fans. He played his college hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and never produced at more than a point-per-game rate.

After graduation, Sheary eventually signed a tryout agreement with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, played in the final two regular season games of the 2013-2014 season and was held off the score sheet. Then in 15 playoff contests, Sheary produced 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) and was a +4 skater.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton decided to bring Sheary back and in his first full AHL season, he played in 58 games, scored 20 goals, assisted on 25 more and was a +8 skater. Then during 8 playoff contests, Sheary produced 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) for the baby Penguins.

That brings us to the present and Sheary will now look to earn a spot on the Pittsburgh Penguins roster during training camp.

Why was he not drafted?

The Penguins, like every other team, passed on Sheary four years in a row. He never was an offensive star in college and the biggest problem was his size. Sheary is 5’9″ and just 161 lbs.

But despite his small stature, Sheary is not afraid of playing defense. He tries to model his game after the three-time Selke trophy winner Pavel Datsyuk.

Sheary also is not one to shy away from contact, during the baby Penguins game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals he knocked the 6’4″ 200lb defenseman Kevin Gravel into the bench.

Despite being a smaller player, Sheary’s incredible hockey IQ allows him to find ways to compensate for lack of size. He’s a lightning fast forward who seems to who honed his scoring touch.

The next Tyler Johnson?

A player who is remarkably similar to Sheary, is the current NHL postseason scoring leader, Tyler Johnson.

Despite standing at 5’8″ and 183 lbs, Johnson leads the league with 12 goals and you guessed it, he was an undrafted free agent as well. While Johnson produced more offensively during his final years in the AHL, he was a more complete player to begin with.

From all reports, Sheary is a tireless worker who continually wants to get better and has dedicated himself to being the best player he can.

Before you think that Sheary is too small to make it into the NHL, look at Tyler Johnson, look at Martin St. Louis.

Small and quick forwards have proven to have value in the NHL. I’d go so far as to argue that being an “undersized” player is an advantage in the modern NHL.

The Penguins need to see what they have in Conor Sheary, sign him to a two-way contract and give him a serious chance during the upcoming training camp. Sheary’s a fierce competitor and will bring the best he has every single night, Pittsburgh could use some of that this upcoming season.

 

Moses Signs With Nashville

Friday, April 10, 2015, 2:19PM

Per Predators.NHL.com

Nashville, Tenn. (April 9, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Thursday that the club has signed free-agent forward Steve Moses to a one-year, $1 million contract for the 2015-16 season.

Moses, 25 (8/9/89), set the Kontinental Hockey 
League goal-scoring record in 2014-15, netting 36 goals in 60 games for Jokerit (Helsinki, Finland) during the club’s inaugural season in the Russia-based league. The 2015 KHL All-Star also tied for seventh in KHL points this season (36g-21a-57pts, 60gp), helping Jokerit to a 40-win campaign. The Leominster, Mass., native spent his first two professional seasons with Jokerit, then in the Finnish Elite League, in 2012-13 and 2013-14, amassing 61 points (34g-27a) in 97 games. In 2012-13, Moses led the league in game-winning goals (7), and paced all rookies in goals (22).

The 5-9, 172-pound winger played four seasons at the University of New Hampshire from 2008-12, recording 98 points (47g-51a) in 148 collegiate games, including 22 goals in 37 games as a senior in 2011-12, which ranked him among the Top 15 in the NCAA. Moses played his junior hockey with the Boston Junior Bruins of the EJHL from 2005-08.

 

High End Hockey Showcase Dates Announced!

Thursday, April 2, 2015, 12:55PM