CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – As an aspiring hockey player growing up in the small Canadian town of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Florida Panthers forward Logan Shaw
admittedly didn’t have too many hometown heroes to look up to.
Shaw, who the Panthers selected in the third round (76th overall) of the 2011 draft, is the first player from Glace Bay to suit up for an NHL club in more than 25 years. The last one was former Philadelphia Flyers forward Dougie Sulliman, who retired from the league following the 1989-90 season – two years before Shaw was born.
Yet, somehow, Shaw managed to find a way to overcome the limitations of his humble beginnings, working tirelessly to establish himself as a big fish in a small pond while competing for the Glace Bay Miners of the Glace Bay Minor Hockey Association.
For a young hockey player hailing from a town of roughly 19,000, the dream of reaching the NHL was always alive, but often felt just out of reach. That was, however, until a few of the League’s top talents paid Shaw’s local hockey school a very special visit one summer.
“Where I’m from, there’s not a whole lot of people come there to do hockey schools,” said Shaw, who saw his No. 11 jersey retired by the Glace Bay Minor Hockey Association this summer. “There was one camp, though, where Brian Leetch and Don Sweeney came in and did a hockey school for a week. That was huge for us. I didn’t know them coming into the camp, but following them after they left was pretty cool. You kind of felt like you knew them.”
More than a decade later, Shaw decided to repay that same favor, serving as a special guest instructor during the Panthers Ultimate Hockey School at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, Fla., from June 20-24.
“It’s so nice to do this for these kids,” said Shaw, who competed in 53 games with the Panthers as a rookie this past season. “They love this kind of stuff. It’s also nice to have a little time down in South Florida for the summer and get away from the rain in Nova Scotia. It feels pretty good to be down here and having the kids look up to you.”
The goal of the Panthers’ annual summer camp is to provide hockey players of all ages and skill levels with a meaningful learning experience in a fun and positive atmosphere. Over the course of each session, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Shaw worked closely with each and every little skater in attendance, instructing them through drills and imparting a few important lessons upon the wide-eyed campers that hope to someday follow in his footsteps.
“Kids are going to be kids, as always, but every time someone is talking they’re well behaved,” Shaw said. “They put a lot of work in and did a lot of skating. I’m here with the message that I want them to focus on having fun and getting better any time they are on the ice. You can tell that they want to get better when they’re out there. They’re all putting in the work that they need to put in.”
In addition to this unique on-ice mentorship, the Panthers Ultimate Hockey School also provides students with NHL-style off-ice instruction, skill-development and conditioning techniques. This pro-style instruction is exclusive to the camp and is not available anywhere else.
If you are interested in training with the Panthers this summer, a list of upcoming schools can be found on the Panthers IceDen’s website. The school’s next guest instructor will be defenseman Mike Matheson, who recently won a gold medal and was named defensive MVP with Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia.
“I’ll definitely ask Logan how (his camp) went,” said Matheson, who made his NHL debut with the Panthers this past season. “It should be exciting to get out there with the kids and try to have some fun with them.”