Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com
James Shearer is heading home to patrol the blue line for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
After spending time with the Brandon Wheat Kings at the Bantam AA and Midget AAA levels, for Shearer playing for Brandon it’s something very special to him. “It’s pretty surreal. I’ve grown up in Brandon and getting to watch the Wheat Kings my whole life and now I get to play for them. It’s a dream come true.”
Shearer joined the Steinbach Pistons for five games in 2012-13 but it was the following season, 2013-14 that saw the defenceman really take his game up to another level scoring 6 goals and 32 assists for 28 points in 48 games and was named the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year.
For the 18 year old with a bullet shot, it’s a bitter sweet day, excited to move on to the next chapter of his hockey career, it’s always tough saying goodbye to the guys in the locker room. “I walked into the room this morning and told the guys what was going on and say my last goodbyes. I definitely got choked up. But, I felt the support from them and they understood what was happening.”
For the Pistons, they are very proud of what Shearer has done both on and off the ice. “It was a pleasure having James be a part of our program” said assistant coach Rob Smith via text, “We wish him the best as he moves on to play with the Brandon Wheat Kings.”
Known as a force on the ice and one of the most well respected people away from the rink, Shearer will never forget the impact Steinbach had on his career and on him as a person. “I have a lot of support from Steinbach. I couldn’t be where I am now without them. I want to thank my team mates, the coaching staff, my billets and just everyone involved and everyone in Steinbach.”
Shearer fondly will remember his time wearing the blue and white. “Just how close we were, both years I was there, it was pretty unbelievable. We were like brothers. We could go to anyone’s house, just talk about anything with anyone. We were just so close, it made everything special. Every moment, every second was special.”
For players moving on, it’s a difficult decision of where to play. Once you sign or commit to the Western Hockey League, you forfeit your eligibility for an NCAA scholarship. A decision that weighed heavily on Shearer. “It was not easy; it was not a split second decision at all. My mind was going 100mph. Right now though, I’m happy. I feel I chose the right thing and looking forward to the opportunity. I’m thankful for everything and all the support and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Shearer will wear number 32 and is looking forward to facing an old teammate on October 28th in Everett, against the Silver Tips. “I thought about going against Mario (Petit) this morning. I’ll give him a text and see what he says. If he’s in the net I want him to good… but I want to score on him as well.”
One thing is for sure, the impact James Shearer had in the locker room, on the ice and in the community, will not soon be forgotten.