Shane McColgan is a right wing for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. McColgan, the only U.S.-born player selected in the first round of the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, finished runner-up to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels) as the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games. Prior to joining the Rockets, the Manhattan Beach, Calif., native played for the Los Angeles Junior Kings and produced 14 goals and 35 assists in 44 games. A participant of the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, McColgan has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.
McColgan recommends friend/linemate for U.S. National Jr. Team
12.15.2010 / 9:00 AM ET
Hello again. Everything is going really well at Kelowna at this point in the season. The BC Division in the Western Conference is really tight … just a few points separate the last place team and the first. We're 1-1 on our Alberta swing here and we've come a long way since the beginning of the year. At one point, we were 4-10 and now we're 17-14 (7-3 over last 10) and one of the best teams in the league right now.
I know I'm second on the team in scoring, but I'm struggling right now scoring goals, but every player goes through that and I just need to shoot the puck a little more. Mitch Callahan is first in scoring and he's having a great year so far. I think I can bring more to the table for the team, but the most important thing is we're doing pretty well right now as a team, so that's all that matters.
I was really happy for (Kelowna linemate) Mitch Callahan (Whittier, Calif.) when he got word he made the U.S. National Junior Team camp. I was actually with him when he got the phone call. It's his last year to make the team and he has a really good chance this year. No one that went to the camp, I think , can play his role any better than he can so. There's an advantage there and obviously he's having a pretty good year with us this season and I enjoy playing with him.
For the U.S. team, I think he can bring an energy-line role as well as an agitating role. He gets under the players' skin pretty well and obviously he's leading our team in scoring so he can do that as well. He can bring the whole package, but I'm sure what the U.S. will want from him is to bring energy, bring those big hits to get the team going. Obviously, there's no fighting in international hockey, but he can bring that energy and get the team going that way.
I've known Mitch since I was about 10. We weren't really that good of friends when we were younger, but always played in the same club and we've known each other for a while. His hometown is about 40 minutes from me. I'm closer to the beach and he's a little more near the city, but we'll see each other here and there during the summer. We try and stay in contact the best we can.
But, getting back to the season, I'm looking forward to playing in the Saddledome in Calgary (on Dec. 17). I really like that rink, so that'll be our last game before we leave the last day for Christmas. The tough thing about road trips are that the bus rides are pretty long and pretty grueling. You really have to stay mentally prepared and really have to enjoy the game to play this time of the year. But it's really fun, too. In Edmonton, we went to the West Edmonton Mall and that brought back some memories because I played in the Brick Tournament there in 2003. That was the last time I was in that mall so that brought back memories for sure.
I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends over the Christmas holidays. I think getting away from hockey a little bit and taking some time to rest your mind and body is pretty important. Hopefully, we'll have a nice, hot Christmas out in Southern California so that I can get on the beach and swim in the ocean a little bit and relax -- yeah, I'm looking forward to that.
-- Shane McColgan
McColgan playing well, aiding rookies
11.17.2010 / 9:00 AM ET
I'm back for a recap of the first month and a half of the season. I've actually been happy with my play and the team had a stretch of six straight wins last week so we were rolling pretty well. For me, I'd like to shoot to shoot the puck and score a little bit more. That's really been my focus -- to shoot more pucks. I've been doing it more in practice, but feel I need to step it up a little bit more every game.
We're fifth in our division but only seven points behind the frontrunners (Vancouver Giants), so we're right there.
Right now I'm on a line with with Mitch Callahan and Zach Franko. Callahan and me built some really good chemistry and it's getting better every game. Franko is the rookie on our line and he's doing very well. This being his first year in the league, he's been holding his ground and he's been playing really well so far. We've had good chemistry the last few weeks.
With any rookie on the team, if they have a question or need someone to talk to, I'm one of the guys they can talk to anytime. I want them to feel right at home.
I feel when I have an opportunity like that, I need to give back. When I came up for training in Kelowna, I talked to (Kelowna alum) Tyler Myers quite a bit and hung out with him. When I came here as a 15-year-old, he actually was the guy who showed me around and was very nice to me. He always gave me advice when I was here in the summer and has been talking to me about the upcoming draft. I also talked to (former Kelowna players) Luke Schenn in the summer too while he was up here, along with Jamie Benn and all those ex-Kelowna guys. It was pretty cool speaking to all of them and hearing what they had to say. Ty Myers and Brandon McMillan got an apartment here, and Benn, Shea Weber and Blake Comeau also come back … I could go on and on. These guys come back and it's great to hear what they have to say. I've been lucky to be in Kelowna.
It'll be nice to have some time off this week before a big two games at Prince George (Nov. 19 and 20). The last movie I saw with the guys was "Due Date" with Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis and it was pretty funny.
Well, that's it for now and thanks for reading! Until next time…
-- Shane McColgan
Rocket man in Kelowna
10.20.2010 / 9:00 AM ET
Hi everyone. My name is Shane McColgan and I play for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. I started playing when I was 2 1/2 years-old on the roller rinks in California because there aren't many ice rinks there. The first ice rink opened up when I was 6 in El Segundo (Calif.) where the Kings and Lakers practice. It's a nice facility and it was great to go there.
Every kid has a dream of playing in the NHL and getting drafted, but not until I was a about 12 did I feel I could make a living playing hockey. That's when I started producing and helping my bantam team win while being one of the top three guys on the team. It was around that same time when my coach at the time, Sandy Gasseau, moved me to forward from defense. If he didn't switch me, I'd probably be playing defense right now so I'm grateful he had the foresight to do that -- it's a move I don't regret.
My coach for the LA Junior Kings, Jack Bowkus, also helped me a lot along the way.
A lot of people ask me about hockey in California and how popular it's becoming. When Wayne Gretzky got traded to the Kings, it was huge for California hockey. You'll see some kids who will come out of there as top notch kids born in 1995 and '96. I'm hearing about some good ones waiting in the wings already … I don't know them well but have heard good things. We're competing with Canada and are proving to be pretty good at hockey too. Some people just think we're all surfing and chillin', going on the beach and things like that, but hockey in California has grown for sure.
My first season in Kelowna was great experience. Kelowna is a top-notch organization that treats you like a professional, and they expect you to be professional on and off the ice and that's what has really helped me. The coaching staff has given me a chance to play as a really young guy as a 16 year old. Most players wouldn't get the chance to play at that age but they believed in me and I believed in them.
I had a rough start to this season as I had to have my tonsils removed and missed a few games. I was out three weeks with an abscess in the right tonsil and they had to get them out right away so I flew back to Manhattan Beach to have the procedure taken care of. Everything went as planned and I'm just trying to get my step back now and getting back into game shape.
It was kind of hard coming back because we played three games in three nights and two were on the road and those were my first three games back so it was pretty tough. But there was a break between games after that and I think I'll be fine the rest of the way.
I had a great experience at the Research, Development and Orientation Camp over the summer. Going up there with all the top prospects who could potentially go in the first round, seeing Brendan Shanahan and Commissioner Gary Bettman, was all very cool. Just getting a taste of the NHL like that was great experience.
Most of my goals are really team-oriented. I want to win a championship in Kelowna and have a successful season. My individual goals are just to produce offensively and be a good defensive player as well. I'll stick up for my teammates whenever I can; I don't shy away from the physical side of the game.
I'm pretty excited about the draft. There's always a little pressure and I think about it in the back of my mind but obviously I did something that worked last year and I'm not going to change it up. I have a year of experience under my belt and I think that'll really help me this season.
We got off to a pretty slow start but I'm confident we'll get the points back. I'm confident we'll have a good season. I appreciate you reading my first blog and check back next month with a new update.
-- Shane McColgan