IRVINE, Calif. -- Devin Shore seems to be everywhere these days. Whether it's lending a helping hand at an elementary school rejuvenation project this past Thursday, taking hacks at Angel Stadium yesterday afternoon (and throwing out the first pitch later that night), or putting in work at training camp at Great Park Ice in Irvine, Shore has been a busy man.
Though these are hectic times, they're fun times for the easy-going Ajax, Ontario native, who came over via trade from the Dallas Stars last January. After a long offseason back in Ontario, Shore is glad to be back in Southern California. Still just 25 years of age, Shore will be a counted on to help lead a new-look (and younger) Ducks team this season.
"I'm excited to be back," he says with a boyish grin. "It was a bit of a long summer. Enjoyed it, but once August hits, you start getting excited for hockey season again. It's nice to come back down to Southern California."
Shore says he was speechless when he walked into Great Park Ice for the first time earlier this summer. Already, he says, the tone was set. "It starts with the new rink. Walking in, it's just a different feel. It's gorgeous. We're very fortunate."
Personnel changes, too, have ushered in a new wave of excitement and optimism.
"From the new coach down, and the new hires, they've started to establish a great culture so far," Shore says. "It's on us as players to keep that going once we hit the ice. Everyone is excited to come to the rink right now. Hopefully that continues all year."
These are the early stages of training camp, but already, the message is clear from Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins. His communication has been straightforward, something Shore appreciates.
"He seems like an easy guy to talk to," Shore says. "A good communicator. He demands your full effort every day, which is what you expect - and want - from a coach. That usually leads to success as a team."
New faces, especially young faces, vying for spots on the roster will continue to be one of the storylines to keep an eye on throughout training camp and preseason. Shore believes a good mix of young players and veterans is crucial for any hockey team.
"Both are very important," Shore says. "You can't buy experience on a shelf, so you have to earn it. The guys that have it can help lead the way. With the young guys, they're excited to prove something. The NHL is a pretty incredible job to have. I remember when I was young, you kind of pinch yourself every day because you're playing in the NHL for a living. That energy is contagious."
Like his teammates, Shore doesn't read into season predictions. What matters most, he says, is the belief within the room. "These days with social media, from the experts to the everyday fan, everyone is going to have an opinion, and that's all good," he says. "But all that really matters are the guys in this dressing room and what we believe, what we think we can accomplish. We're not going to limit ourselves. Our standards are set very high regardless. The cool thing about the NHL is it's a tight league. Every team has to bring its best every night. If you can get into the playoffs, anything can happen. It's okay for everyone to have their opinions. We have our standards, and we're going to try to meet and exceed them."
A few minutes with Shore, and it's clear that he was born to play hockey. Even during training camp, when the days feel a bit longer and the legs feel a bit heavier, it's all good in his eyes.
"You can call it a job, but playing hockey is what we've all be doing our whole lives," Shore says. "It's exciting to get things going and competing again. You want to start playing hockey again. Playing in front of your home fans, traveling on the road with the team and trying to compete and win hockey games every night, it's really a fun thing to be a part of. Certainly a lot more fun than offseason training."