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McColgan recommends friend/linemate for U.S. National Jr. Team

by Shane McColgan /
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 that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

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.

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