Ian Clark's On Hockey: The Monarchs' Shore thing
MANCHESTER -- FLASHY? No. Effective? Oh, yes.
Manchester Monarchs rookie forward Nick Shore has quietly put together an impressive first year as a pro hockey player. Through 52 games, Shore has scored 11 goals and 20 assists, good enough for third best on the team in scoring on the current roster (without Linden Vey and Tanner Pearson).
"He's one of those guys that quietly seems to be a contributor. He's been very consistent for us," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "His calm demeanor seems to have a positive effect on his teammates. He has sure hands and a very high hockey IQ."
Consistency doesn't come easy in first-year players, but Shore's easygoing approach has made the transition a smooth one.
"Coming in as a first-year player, as the season goes on you're going to get more comfortable with the guys and the system and everything," said Shore, 21. "Over time, that certainly helps and you can play the same way as you get adjusted."
A third-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2011 draft (the 82nd overall selection), Shore played three years of college hockey at the University of Denver, scoring 34 goals and adding 59 assists.
Unlike many players coming to the pro ranks from junior hockey, Shore's experience as a college player comes with advantages.
"Those experiences with that team and the coaching that he received from George Gwozdecky, we've reaped the benefits," Morris said. "The biggest thing is maturity. There's a certain hierarchy that is established as you go through your freshman, sophomore, junior and senior seasons. There is lots to be said for that. These guys have had time to train in the weight room and develop a mental toughness and the physique to handle the pro game. The mental maturity part is huge in that guys have to learn to concentrate for large periods of time having to sit through lectures and classes. They also have to be responsible for papers and exams and things away from the rink that make them responsible."
Shore said one of the biggest adjustments was the length of the season jumping from approximately 40 to 76 games in the AHL. But not having to worry about schoolwork certainly helps.
"The big difference is the number of games, but at the same time, playing at DU, we played in the WCHA, a really tough conference. So we had a lot of games playing against a lot of great players, which was a huge help to me," Shore said. "You're not going to school every day and having to work on your studies. You have a lot more time on your hands to work on certain things that need to be done."
As with all young players, Shore is just focused on helping the Monarchs, who start a four-game homestand Friday at 7 p.m. with a visit from Adirondack, and improving his own game.
"With every game and every practice you want to get better," Shore said. "That's the focus, just getting better every day."
Ian Clark covers pro hockey for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.