When watching Vancouver Canucks prospect Hunter Shinkaruk on the ice, it becomes pretty obvious there isn’t much he can’t do out there. But as we get to know the Medicine Hat Tigers captain a little bit more, it appears his abilities aren’t just left at the rink, they seem to follow him wherever he goes.
In late August, Shinkaruk was asked to go on local Medicine Hat channel Chat TV to do the weather during a live broadcast of the late-night news. He obliged.
“That was pretty cool,” he said. “Obviously you watch the news and the weather growing up and the fact that I got to try it was special. It was live, so I was a little nervous but it worked out so I was pretty happy with it.
“It was pretty hard. I practiced doing it like three times and still didn’t know how I was going to do but I am glad it all worked out and I didn’t make myself look silly on live television.”
Then came his next big break in the media: doing live colour commentary on the Tigers radio broadcast while he was out with a hip injury.
“He was out that particular game with an injury and my regular sidekick was out in Buffalo watching the Sabres play the Rangers,” said Bob Ridley, legendary play-by-play man of the Tigers. “I found myself scrambling for a colour guy and I grabbed Hunter and he did a pretty good job.”
Ridley said he didn’t have to give Shinkaruk many pointers. He just let him do his thing.
“He is a kid that really has the gift of the gab and hockey is a passion of his. All he had to do was talk hockey and I thought he did a bang up job.”
Although Shinkaruk enjoyed doing it, he would have rather been on the ice doing what he does best.
“It was pretty cool,” said Shinkaruk. “It was a once in a lifetime thing that I got to do and it was fun. It was a little tough because I wanted to be on the ice and when some plays were made I kind of had to bite my lip and not say anything.
“It was a good opportunity for me when I wasn’t playing to be involved and do something I have never done before.”
Live television. Live radio. One would think there is a future for Shinkaruk in the media when his playing days are over.
“Maybe, but hopefully that’s a long ways down the road,” said Shinkaruk.
“I don’t know if he will be another Kelly Hrudey (former Tiger) or not,” said Ridley. “Maybe he is kind of leaning towards that when he is done hockey. He is camera friendly, has the gift of the gab and talks the game very well, so yeah, there is a chance he will have a future in it when he is done playing hockey.”
But being seen on people’s televisions or being heard in people’s cars wasn’t what excited Shinkaruk the most this season. That honor belongs to a box of cereal. Honeycomb to be exact.
The 2013 first-rounder was featured on a recent box of the delicious cereal, which happened to be his go-to breakfast as a kid.
“It still doesn’t even seem real,” he said. “It’s something you dream of as a kid and the fact that it happened is unbelievable. It’s kind of funny because Honeycomb was my favorite cereal when I was little so it’s really weird but it’s a huge honor to be on one.”
One problem: he hasn’t been able to find a box for himself, yet. The Tigers are huge in Medicine Hat and Shinkaruk is the star. So naturally, the boxes have been flying off the shelves.
“I went to all the grocery stores in Medicine Hat and I didn’t see any, I think my parents got a few but I haven’t got any. Hopefully they will send me a few to kind of keep and remember.”