Shane Prince doesn’t exactly understand the “off” in offseason. Whether he’s planning his charity hockey tournament, working his hockey camp with his dad, or doing his offseason training, the Islanders’ winger seems to be on, all the time.
NewYorkIslanders.com managed to catch up with Prince this week to find out about his busy offseason, which also included signing a new, two-year contract with the Islanders.
NYI: You signed a new two-year deal with the Islanders in July. How exciting is that for you?
SP: I’m real excited. To be locked up for two years with the Islanders is awesome. Being there for half a year was an amazing experience and to know I’m going to be there for two more years is really exciting for me. I’m really looking forward to working hard in the offseason and I’m excited to get back and play. That feeling of winning one playoff round, it really excites me to get even further and win a cup. I can only imagine what those guys feel to raise that thing, it’s incredible. That’s the goal for myself and I’m sure the rest of the organization and the players.
NYI: You said your two-and-a-half months here was an amazing experience. What about it – and the Islanders – did you like so much?
SP: The organization was top-notch. How they ran things, the coaching staff. I was really blown away by the players. I don’t think I’ve ever met such a great group of guys, genuine guys on and off the ice. They’re good teammates and you get that family feel right from the management and coaching staff down to the players. I feel like we’re all one unit. It’s hard to find everyone on the same page like that and want each other to succeed. It’s a good feeling to be a part of and it’s something you definitely have to have as a team in order to win a championship.
NYI: You’ve been a pretty busy guy this offseason away from the rink. Tell us about the Beach Hockey Classic you staged in July.
SP: My dad and I run a hockey camp in Rochester, [N.Y.] to stay involved with the kids and the community there. We had a little kid – Patrick Carr – who had cancer that trained with us and we grew to love the kid and wanted to do something for him the next summer and we thought up the Beach Hockey Classic. It’s like street hockey, but it’s on the sand. We use mini soccer balls for pucks and 5 x 8 nets, it’s pretty cool. It’s a 34-team tournament, ranging from kids to adults. There are different divisions for each age group and all the proceeds the first year were going to Patrick. Unfortunately he passed away the week before the tournament and all the proceeds still went to his charity. Going forward, all the benefits and proceeds go to the Golisano Children’s Hospital which is a local children’s hospital that Patrick went to. We are funding a fun-room there for all the kids to play in and we used the proceeds [from the tournament and other charity events] to fund the room.
(The tournament raised $20K this season, click the link below to read more about Prince’s event, how Patrick inspired him and about his involvement with Golisano Children’s Hospital.)
NYI: We were impressed by the Sandley Cup – the top prize in the Beach Hockey Classic – who made that?
SP: That whole cup was all my dad. He’s creative and artistic and actually built it from scratch. Just stuff he found at the arts and crafts store and even grocery stores, pots and pans and stuff. He was able to put that together and it’s unbelievable how good it looks in person. It’s a paint that looks like sand, with a proxy over it. I don’t know exactly what he did, but it took him a while and it came out mint. It’s legit.
He also came up with the name Sandley Cup, but now we named it the Patrick Carr Memorial Sandley Cup in remembrance of Patrick.
NYI: You’re running the Prince Elite Hockey Camp with your dad, but this year you’re also doing a boarding camp. Tell us about that.
SP: We stay a whole week in college dorms right where the arena is, so I’ll be around the kids 24/7 Monday through Friday. We do a lot of really good training on the ice and have some fun off the ice also. A lot of games, it’s a competitive atmosphere and the kids seem to love it. It’s good for me too because we do a lot of skills stuff and I’m able to go out there and work on my skills with them. That’s how I kind of get ready for my season too.
NYI: Is this the type of experience that you had as a kid?
SP: Some of my best memories – and things that helped me become a better player and person – were going to a boarding camp in Boston. They had NHL guys and junior guys and you got the whole experience. Good training and you’re on your own in the dorms and you learn a lot. I loved it so much I wanted to bring it to Rochester and create an opportunity for the kids to experience that locally and not have to travel so far. But we’ve got kids signed up from Buffalo and Syracuse so we’re scattering out around the area. Once people get word of it, hopefully it’ll get even bigger. Hopefully some little players from Long Island will make it up, that’d be awesome.