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Offside with Shane O'Brien

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Defenceman Shane O’Brien came to Vancouver from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a multi-player trade at the beginning of the 2008.09 season and quickly settled into life on the west coast.

The 25 year old Port Hope native was brought in to add depth and toughness to the Canucks’ blueline, but has shown he brings more than that with his plus-8 rating over 49 games with the Canucks. An intimidating force on the ice, O’Brien continues to improve his all-around game and has been a positive presence in the dressing room.

Get to know the Canucks’ newest d-man. Go offside with Shane O’Brien.

What is the story behind your number?

It had a little bit to do with the double hitters, I’d always watch the late game in Ontario and a lot of times it was Vancouver. Ed Jovanovski wore 55 and I liked the way he played, that had a little bit to do with it. And also Larry Murphy in Tornoto wore 55 and I liked the way he moved the puck around.

It was always a number I couldn’t have growing up because it was a high number and wherever I played for some reason it was only low numbers. I was lucky enough to get to the NHL and it was available so I decided to go with it.

Tell us about your first NHL game.

Obviously the night before I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, I was nervous and anxious. During the day it was the same thing and the game happened so quickly, before I knew it, it was over. The best part was probably the guys like Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne, Todd Marchant, Travis Green coming over and shaking my hand, saying congratulations and welcome. So it was a pretty good feeling.

[Editor’s note: Shane O’Brien was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in 2003 and played his first NHL game with the club in the 2006.07 season.]

What is your favourite spectator moment?

Spectator moment, good or bad? There was this guy, I never had any good ones, there was this guy in Providence Rhode Island, my last year in the American League, he used to give it to me every time we played Providence, like eight times. He come to Portland, drive to Portland for the game and my first game in Boston he was there too. He was a really good guy, but he used to like to heckle me and we had a good time with it so it was a lot of fun.

What is the coolest name in sports?

Probably Boo Weekley. I like Boo Weekley, the golfer. I don’t know, I like the name Boo. I’m a big golf guy so I’m going to go with Boo Weekley.

If not hockey, then…

I’d love to be a professional golfer. I play quite a bit in the off-season. I’m not good enough, but if I was good enough that’s what I’d like to be doing.

I got into golf when I was younger, probably 12 or 13. My parents would just drop me off at the golf course and pick me up when they were done work so it worked out pretty well for them.

What is your favourite thing about your hometown?

Just that my family is there and the friends that I grew up with. I still go back every summer and play golf every day and work out obviously, but just to be around my family and friends. I don’t know how many summers I’ll be going home for, so I enjoy them, seeing my family whenever I want and seeing my friends is the best part for sure.

What question do you always get asked when you are home?

Just how much fun is it to play in the NHL and the lifestyle. Everyone wants to know about the lifestyle and stuff like that, they’re all interested. We’re just blessed to play the game and be paid very well to do it so I just tell them the truth, it’s pretty good.

What is your favourite non-hockey sports team?

I’m going to go with the Toronto Blue Jays, although I’m not really happy with the direction they’re heading in right now, but I’ll still stick with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Who was your favourite athlete growing up?

I don’t really know. I mean when Tiger Woods was doing his thing I was old enough to realize it, I’d have to say Tiger Woods. When I was really young I loved any hockey player in the world, but when I started getting older and playing junior I realized what it takes to be a pro at something. Just seeing how Tiger Woods went about his business, I’d have to say Tiger.

If the team participated on the show Survivor, who would win?

Looks around the room, as Willie Mitchell walks up to his locker stall beside O’Brien.

Probably this guy right here actually. He’s the outdoorsman; he’s from Port McNeil, British Columbia. I’d have to go with Willie Mitchell.

What’s your most prized possession?

I guess I’d have to say, just my memories. I don’t really have any prized possessions, just my memories along the way of the people I’ve met and just being lucky enough to play pro hockey and all the people you meet, the cities you go to. I think my memories are my most prized possession right now.

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