Another Brandon native that has played in Steinbach now makes his hockey home south of the Rocky Mountains.
Former Pistons defenceman James Shearer has committed to the University of Calgary Dinos of U Sports for this upcoming season, and has spent the past week getting used to his surroundings.
“My main focus on choosing (the University of Calgary) was how good the academics were,” he said from Calgary. “They have a great business program in which I’m excited to get started.”
Shearer also raved about the group that the U of C had assembled. “I saw they had a really good roster and good recruits coming in, as well as an easy coach to talk to in Mark Howell,” he said. “My family played a big role in helping me chose and supporting any of my decision. And I like the city of Calgary; it’s a great place to be with lots to do.”
Shearer played 61 games with the Pistons from the end of the 2013-2014 until the beginning of the 2015-16 season. He scored 38 points in 48 games in the 2014-15 season and was the first Piston to win the MJHL’s Rookie of the Year award. He had 12 points in his first 8 games in 2015-16, and then made the jump to his hometown Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL.
He spent the last three seasons with the Wheaties, appearing in the Memorial Cup in 2015-16. This past season was a big one for Shearer, as he was named captain of his hometown team in his 20-year-old season.
“It was a dream come true to be the captain for the team I grew up watching,” he reminisced. “I was a great honour, and I can’t give enough credit to my family, teammates, our leadership group, coaches, teachers, and friends for the way they have shaped me into the person I am today, and for how they taught me to try and lead to the best of my ability.”
For now, Shearer is off to the Dinos for this season, and is living with former Piston and Wheat Kings midget teammate Bradley Schoonbaert. “It’s been a lot of fun so far,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about him eating any of my vegetables (he doesn’t eat any), and we both have common interests.”
He is excited to once again join forces with his former teammate. “We always had a connection finding each other on the ice when we were younger, so I hope we can keep that going this year.”
Shearer is incredibly thankful for his time spent in Steinbach, calling it one of the best experiences he has ever had. “I grew as a person on and off the ice with the help of my wonderful billets, Paul and (former assistant coach) Rob Smith, everybody in the Pistons organization, as well as everyone in the community,” he said. “I learned to balance work, school, volunteer work, chores, hanging out with the guys, working out, and playing hockey all in one year.”
Shearer left a message for all of Steinbach. “I know I’m forgetting people I should have mentioned, because there were just so many great people I was lucky enough to meet,” he continued. “I just want to thank every single person in Steinbach. You guys made my time there extra special, and anybody lucky enough to play there will say the same. Thank you Steinbach, congrats on winning the cup this past year, and you guys rock!”
The Pistons organization wishes James all the best as he starts his university career with the Calgary Dinos.