Friday, June 17, 2016

McColgan's pro aspirations on life support

Shane McColgan's hockey career is on life support.

The good news is the former Kelowna Rockets forward isn't about to let it go without a fight.

McColgan, who suited up for five seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets, Saskatoon Blades and Portland Winterhawks, has played a handful of games over the last two seasons at the Canadian university level and has spent more time injured than playing.

"The last couple of years have been an absolute blur to me, McColgan said Thursday from his home in sunny California. "Everything happens for a reason. I had to finally hit rock bottom to realize that I am not getting any younger now and I need to start getting serious if I want to play this game any longer."

McColgan was a highly touted bantam entering the Western Hockey League draft in 2008. The Kelowna Rockets selected the smallish Manhattan Beach forward with the 13th overall pick. In his first full season in 2009-2010, McColgan led the team in scoring with 25 goals and 69 point and was the Western Conference nominee for rookie of the year. He would lose the league honour that season to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels.

Despite McColgan's terrific start to his junior career, he never took his play to the next level and failed to blossom into the player many scouts envisioned.

"I had all the skills in the world but my mental game just wasn't there", McColgan admitted.     

A fourth round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 2011, the 23 year-old is confident he can regain his form now that his mental approach to the game has changed.  

"I am definitely re-inventing myself in all the right ways. I am changing how I go about life. I was all over the map before with my thought process and I didn't know what to do really. Now I have the capability to turn it around and things are looking up".

McColgan wasn't so positive if you spoke to him in January of this year. It was a heart to heart conversation with Kelowna Rockets General Manager Bruce Hamilton a month later that changed all that.

"I know I have always had a good relationship with Bruce. I know I can always go and talk to him. I wasn't even really planning on meeting with him and finally I said, "screw it, it can't hurt me to ask for help."

What was said between McColgan and Hamilton is being kept behind closed doors, but the 45 minute conversation seems to have renewed the fire in his belly for a game he used to dominate. 

"I envision getting a shot in the Coast (ECHL) on whatever team wants to give me a chance. But I don't want to stay there I can tell you that. My mindset is on other things. Realistically, it is starting in the coast", McColgan added.

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