Carberry’s Steven Shamanski is in his fourth season of NCAA hockey at Providence College. (SUBMITTED)
Hockey has taken Steven Shamanski from the cozy Carberry Plains Community Centre in his hometown to the type of grand venue that many youngsters only dream of.
The 23-year-old Providence College defenceman has played twice in the TD Centre — the home of the NHL’s Boston Bruins — and he’ll stop at an even more revered stadium this season when his Friars take on the Merrimack College Warriors at Fenway Park on Jan. 4 as part of the Frozen Fenway series of outdoor games. Attendance was more than 38,000 each of the previous two times Fenway hosted NCAA Division I hockey games.
"That’s a bit different atmosphere than playing in Carberry’s rink or Dauphin’s rink," said the former Dauphin Kings captain, who helped the team reach the final of the Royal Bank Cup national Junior A championship as the tournament host in 2010.
"We went up (to Fenway) and watched a couple ball games. That was a pretty neat atmosphere, so it will be fun to take that in on the ice."
Highly decorated in Dauphin — he was the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s top defenceman and player of the year for 2009-10 — Shamanski has continued to be lauded for his efforts on and off the ice at Providence College.
Going into his senior season, the accounting major has been named to the Hockey East all-academic team in each of his previous three years at the Rhode Island university and was also an honourable mention conference all-star last winter.
Shamanski has seen his role with the Friars grow each year. He scored two goals and had a career-high 14 points in 38 games last season, tying for the fifth-best plus/minus rating (+12) in Hockey East.
"You come down here and you’re not sure how you’re going to adjust to the college game from junior and the coaches have spent a lot of time with me and the other guys, just developing year after year, so I think just slowly you progress into being able to make an impact on the team," he said. "It’s been a good three years so far and I’m looking to keep building on that."
While Shamanski had his best individual performance in 2012-13, the Friars also had their best campaign as a team in a decade, going 17-14-7. They advanced to the conference semifinal at the TD Garden where they lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to the UMass Lowell River Hawks, who went on to win the Hockey East title.
The Friars were ranked fifth in the conference in a pre-season Hockey East coaches poll and Shamanski said while the team is fairly young, there is enough talent for another strong run.
"Going into the season we look great on paper, but I guess it’s just going to depend how we come together as a team," he said. "I think there’s a lot of expectations on us, but it’s just the process day in, day out that will help lead us to a successful season.
"I think we’ve got a pretty good team here, so hopefully we’ll have a pretty good year."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 28, 2013