"On the Fly" is a new regular feature on DallasStars.com. Senior digital correspondent Scott Burnside sits down with a member of the Stars for a few random, off-the-cuff questions to gain insight into their lives, thoughts and careers on and off the ice.
Today's edition features forward Devin Shore, Dallas' second-round pick (61st overall) in the 2012 draft.
Previous installments: Jason Spezza | Jamie Benn | Stephen Johns | Kari Lehtonen | Tyler Pitlick | Marc Methot
Scott Burnside: What was your first hockey memory?
Devin Shore: I think it was my dad teaching me how to skate on Lynde Shores (Conservation Area), it's like a pond in Whitby (Ontario) just off Bailey Street. We'd go out there in the winter time, and that's where I learned how to skate and my dad taught me. And then my first hockey memory, I remember scoring my first goal in house league when I was 4 years old. Right wing on the left-hand side of the offensive zone, and the puck went 90 degrees directly to the right wing and I just whacked it and it went in. That was my first-ever organized hockey goal. It was all fun, like scoring or just playing. In many ways, the same now. I've always loved the game. It's always been a blast. They (the first skates), they're hanging in my bedroom back in Ajax (Ontario). They're pretty cool. They're tiny. I'm proud of them because they're like real hockey skates. They're not like cheese-cutter, double-runners -- they're real hockey skates. I definitely needed help, whether it was a stroller or a chair at the start. I brought them in for show-and-tell at elementary school and stuff. They were always a big hit. So, I still have my first skates.
Video: CGY@DAL: Shore dekes around defender, beats Gillies
SB: What is your favorite hockey possession, a hockey possession that's a treasure to you?
DS: Yeah, it's a children's book. It's pretty long and it's called "The Value of Tenacity: The Story of Maurice Richard." I was around the same age, 2 years old, and I was up at our family cottage with my grandmother. I forget what my parents were doing, but they weren't up there, and it was like 9 o'clock and my grandma said it was bedtime and said, 'Okay, go pick out a book that I'll read you before bed.' And I didn't know how to read then, so I just found one with a hockey player on it, and she read it to me before bed. And then, I made her read it again and then I made her read again. These are her words, I don't really remember, but this is her story. That might have been a huge contributing factor to me falling in love with the game. I carry that book. It's all taped up. It was probably 3 o'clock by the time she finished reading it for the fourth time. I took it with me every time I went to Maine for school. I got it with me here in Dallas in my drawer. I carry that with me. Mrs. Schmidt was the neighbor of my grandparents' cottage, and it was like a set of books. There was like "The Value of Saving: The Story of Benjamin Franklin," I think another one was "The Value of Perseverance: The Story of Terry Fox," so this one was "The Value Of Tenacity: The Story Of Maurice Richard'. I don't know where Mrs. Schmidt got them from, but she gave us a whole stack of used children's books. This one, I've never seen a copy of around. That's why I take good care of it because I don't know if you could find it.
SB: Was there a moment where you first thought, 'Hey, I can play in the NHL'?
DS: I think my whole 17-year-old year, I was playing Tier II, and not a lot of guys get drafted out of Tier II. The plan was I'd committed to Maine, I was a late-bloomer, so the plan was go to Maine, play there, get bigger, stronger and, hopefully, get some opportunities as a free agent because you see guys doing that all the time. I just kind of wanted to extend my window, so I guess my first one, I was fortunate enough to have a good year that 17-year-old year and got drafted. So then, you're like, okay, you're kind of on the radar. So that might have been the first time. But then, I think my third year at Maine, we got knocked out of the playoffs early, and I was able to jump onto the Texas Stars for a significant amount of time. I think I played 19-20 games, which is a good chunk of the season, so throughout that time, that was my first taste of pro hockey. And I know it's not the NHL, but I was starting to figure out what worked and what didn't at the pro level, and as I started to feel good about my game, there then it kind of clicks. I'm one step away. I'm a phone call away. I can do this.
I remember a lot of things (about getting the call for his first NHL game). It was in Boston. The crowd was crazy. Skated out, did the classic warmup on your own. I wore a helmet. The guys tried to hide it, but I was adamant on finding that thing. I remember Chris Kelly (of the Bruins) broke his femur at the 18-minute mark of the first period. I was on the fourth line that game. Hadn't had a shift yet, and it happened right in front of our bench. And I remember thinking, 'Holy crap, this is the NHL.' It was a freak play. I think he just kind of got twisted around weird and fell weird on his leg. I felt terrible for him. Here's this grown man screaming in agony. You're looking over the bench. You could see the look on his face, and I'm thinking, it's hard to get that out of your mind, this is the NHL. Some big men out here, and that could happen. And then, Seggy (Tyler Seguin) scored a hat trick back in Boston, so that was crazy, too. It was awesome. We got the win. Karps (Kari Lehtonen) was unreal. He's sitting beside me right now. He shut the door. I remember the win song after (in the dressing room). It was a great time. It was a dream come true. Cliché as that is, it was a pretty incredible feeling.
SB: If you could visit 18-year-old Devin Shore, what advice would you give him?
DS: I'd say do your best. I know it's really hard, but try not to ride the rollercoaster of emotions. Some days, you'll feel like you can't do anything right, and some days, you feel like you're the best player in the world -- and both of those times, it's not the case. So, just try to get your confidence from your process and your work and not results. Because if you start only getting confidence when you get results and losing confidence when they don't come, I think that's a slippery slope because this game has a lot to do with balances. Just try to get better every single day, and keep that belief in yourself regardless of results. Get your confidence from the process. It's something that I'm not where I want to be now in that regard. It's hard. It's really hard to not ride that rollercoaster of emotions, especially when you're playing 82 games. The games are so intense in that moment, you feel like it's the only thing that matters in the world, and if it doesn't go your way, you get pretty ticked off. But it's something that you've got to continuously work on.
Video: EDM@DAL: Shore one-times Seguin's pass for tying goal
SB: What's the best practical joke or prank you've seen, or been involved with?
DS: A couple of funny ones at Maine. So guys would be pranking each other back and forth. I don't know how he got up there, but he took all this guy's street clothes and taped them up into a huge ball, like the size of a, like a boulder -- bigger than a beach ball. I think he got the arena guy to go up into the rafters. He tied it to a huge rope and hung that ball of clothes from the rafters over top of center ice about 20-30 feet in the air. So that was pretty funny. (The owner of the clothes) could see the clothes, but he had to get the arena guy. They were way up there. So, that was pretty good. The other one a guy took a small recycling bin, filled it with water -- this was at Maine, too -- put the guy's underwear in the water and then threw it in the freezer during practice so the guys' boxers were suspended in a block of ice after practice. I thought that was pretty good, too.
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Scott Burnside is a senior digital correspondent for DallasStars.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OvertimeScottB, and listen to his podcast.
Read more: Dallas Stars, Devin Shore