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Steven Shipley's Debut with the Niagara IceDogs

Newest contributor of the In the O Radio Show's blogging team, Vicky Grygar, talks about big name addition Steven Shipley as an IceDog, and why Owen Sound may not have been the right fit. 

Following the trade of Andrew Shaw, Andrew Fritsch, and Matt Petgrave to the Owen Sound Attack in exchange for 18 year-old Steve Shipley, over-ager Jason Wilson, and picks, many Niagara fans were skeptical. Sending off a keynote player like Andrew Shaw is always difficult for fans and the team itself. Even more skepticism lay in the fact that what Niagara was receiving was yet to be deemed..."worthy" of such trade.

After the IceDogs home-opener vs. the Erie Otters, much of the initial uncertainty has been long forgotten. Contributing with a goal and assist, as well as time on the power play and penalty kill, Steven Shipley flourished in his debut as an IceDog.

Drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 NHL Draft (98th overall) to the Buffalo Sabres, the Ilderton, Ontario native earned the first star of the night, in addition to an overwhelming welcoming by Niagara fans. To add to his resume, Shipley won a world U-17 gold medal with Team Ontario in 2009, and represented the Owen Sound Attack at the CHL Top Prospects Game. This begs the question as to why there was any skepticism about this trade to begin with. How could this 6 foot 2 offensive power be overlooked? One could very well assume it must have something to do with his former hockey club. This isn't to say that Shipley was not a key contributor to the Attack, the forward tallied 23 goals and 40 assist last season ('09-10). The problem lies in the fact that Shipley may not have been utilized by the Attack in the best way. This ultimately leads to the issue of whether or not it is in the best interest of a player's development to remain on a team that fails to properly utilize its showcase players.

It was refreshing to see the IceDogs coaching staff relay the utmost confidence in this trade at the home-opener. Shipley was given ample amounts of ice time against the Otters, which is exactly what a player arriving to a new team requires. The first two periods were if anything an adjustment for the new center, but by the third Niagara got to experience Shipley engaged and playing with a comfortable rhythm.

It is pivotal for young, up-and-coming hockey players to be provided with confidence from the coaching staff. Niagara's display of commitment in their decision to pick up Shipley was evident during the home-opener, and it seems to have paid off judging by his level of play towards the end of the 3rd period. It will be interesting to see Shipley develop with a new organization - an organization that is self-assured and in no-doubt of this player's abilities.

-Vicky Grygar
In the O Radio, Blogger

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