With Shane Prince, the whole is more than the sum of the parts

Prospect Profile - Shane Prince, Through the Eyes Of A Little Sister

After a couple of weeks off, the Prospect Profile returns today with a bit of a twist.  For all previous profiles, I have interviewed a journalist from the town that the player recently played in to get their impression.  The profile prospect for this week, Shane Prince, has played for a season and a half for the Ottawa 67’s, right in our own back yard.  I have seen Prince enough to be able to give a scouting report, which I will provide later.

However, I recently came into contact with Shane’s sister, Olivia, and she agreed to provide some personal insight into who Shane is as a person.  Olivia, who just turned 16, is an athlete in her own right. She is a top level gymnast in her native New York state.  Here is my conversation with Olivia Prince.

 

You are an elite athlete (gymnast) as well as your brother. How far do you see your athletic pursuits taking you?

Gymnastics has always been a part of me, just like hockey is for Shane. Being dedicated to a sport has always been something my brother and I have had a lot in common with. Every now and then we would give each other little tips on how to improve on each others sport. For example, gymnastics requires great flexibility, and it’s really good to have at least some flexibility in hockey! Sometimes I give him some stretches to work on. Shane, on the other hand, might tell me helpful nutrition facts. He is all about the nutrition and he really makes sure he gets the right foods in his body. Simple things like that are exactly what helps us get a long so well. Anyway, I’m hoping to compete at college level gymnastics in the future. I have already started looking at colleges that interest me, and I will definitely continue and visit some in the future!

 

What about your parents’ influence on both yours and Shane’s athletic pursuits?

Our parents definitely have had a great influence on us, no doubt we wouldn’t be where we are today without them. My dad was more of the hockey parent, and my mom was more of the gymnastics parent. You can ask my dad the simplest gymnastics question and he will have no idea what you are talking about, (haha just kidding), but he’s no expert. My mom would come to practically all of my gymnastics competitions and every now and then my brother and dad would come and watch. For 6 years my dad drove Shane 90 minutes to Syracuse 3 or 4 days a week to play for the Syracuse Stars 92 AAA team. I used to love going to watch them play, they were awesome. My mom would take me to gymnastics practice everyday and then I’d have competitions on the weekends all over the northeast. I don’t think they did anything on weekends for the last 15 years except cater to me and Shane. They always had lunch and dinner ready in the car so we could eat quick and get to after school sports and stuff. Whether it was simple things like making us a pre-game meal or complex things like creating a backyard ice rink for Shane or a practice beam for me my parents always put us first. All the little things they’ve done for us and continue to do have definitely helped us get where we are today. It’s been a huge commitment for them and they never ask for anything in return except that we give 100% effort.

 

Was it always Shane’s goal to play in the NHL?

Oh my god, I can’t even explain how many times Shane would say as a child, “Liv, I’m going to the NHL.” He has always been the biggest competitor I have ever met! When I was younger, I would always doubt him. I would say “Shane, what do you want to be when you get older?” and he would simply reply with “Um..the NHL obviously.” I would just be like “HA YEA RIGHT!”, sarcastically. As I got older and started to understand the sport of hockey a bit more and watched how good he was I realized that his dream was going to come true. I’ve watched him progress from AAA to the OHL and he just keeps getting better. His whole life he has been doubted, even sometimes by his own sister, and he never let it get to him! I realize now he just never will. Never! I don’t doubt him at all anymore, I expect him to be a huge success in the NHL.

 

When did he realize that he a legitimate opportunity to make hockey a career?

From day one he knew this was the sport for him. He didn’t care how good he was, he simply loved the sport. I swear Shane has so much confidence and I think that’s what has gotten him so far. Like I said, from day one he has been doubted and I guess being doubted has conditioned his mind to be nothing but confident. He doesn’t really ignore the people who doubt him but instead he uses their doubt to fuel his drive for success. But to answer your question I really think Shane knew he could do this for a career the first time he stepped on the ice. Even when he was little he always talked about playing in the NHL like it was just a matter of turning 18 years old. I remember when he was about 9 years old he got a driveway basketball hoop and within hours he thought he was going to be 6′ 7″ and could play in the NBA. My dad would tell him that being 6′ 7″ was not in his control but Shane just said “oh yeah, you’ll see”. Ha ha that’s Shane. I’m glad he stuck to hockey though.

 

I see from the draft video on your YouTube channel that you are very supportive. You are very close with him. What kind of big brother is he?

Shane is the brother any girl would dream of having, he’s the best. Not only is he my big brother, but he is my closest friend. We can sit in the kitchen and talk about our life problems, and we will end up walking out of the kitchen laughing histerically with smiles on our faces. We have always been extremely close, even when we were younger. We have tons of videos of us playing as kids and even when he was only about 4 years old he took care of me, helping me into my booster seat for dinner, ha ha. I feel really lucky to have Shane as my brother. Like seriously, how many girls can say “Yea my big brother just got drafted into the NHL.”? Not many! I have looked up to him my whole life. When I’m scared of a skill in gymnastics, I think of Shane for inspiration. I think to myself “Shane wouldn’t be happy if he was here right now seeing me be a chicken. He would stand here and push me until I did the skill perfectly.” He sets such good examples for me, teaching me not to drink, smoke or do drugs and helps me make good life decisions. He has always included me in anything he has going on with his friends, always treating me as his equal. The day he got his drivers license I was the first one he took for a ride, and when the Sens drafted him in Minnesota I was the first one he hugged. He’s always been so generous, even now he takes me out to eat all the time and we have a blast. He said when he signs his NHL contract he’s taking me to Hawaii. Now that’s what I’m talking about, hahaha.

 

Do you get to watch many of his games in Ottawa? How far away are you?

Yes, absolutely! I go to Ottawa almost every weekend during the hockey season! Sometimes we have to drive up and come right home after the game so I can get to gymnastics the next morning. I can never get enough of those games, they are so fun! I’m about 4 and a half hours away from Ottawa, which isn’t too bad! Almost every Friday I have to get out of school about an hour early just so I can make it to the Ottawa games! It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even have to tell the school why I’m leaving. I go up to my teacher and he says “tell me how many goals he scores today.” Haha, ahh the days I love! But more importantly, I just can’t wait for the day I step into Scotiabank Place to watch my brother play his first NHL game, and to live his dream. It doesn’t get any better than watching my own brother live the dream people said would never come.

 

What do you think are his strengths on the ice?

In terms of hockey I get completely confused when I read some of the stuff in the media! One writer’s strengths are another writers weaknesses. Sometimes I think they just write what they’ve heard about Shane and haven’t done their own research. Personally I think his speed, vision and skill set him apart to make him an elite player. I think his physical strength, mental determination, size, and commitment to being the best is greatly underestimated. Just watching him eat all these healthy foods, calculating his calories and fat intake, going to the gym everyday to workout, the way he treats his body like a machine shows how determined he is to be the best. I guess you’d have to live with him to appreciate it. But above all my most favorite strength of his is treating his sister the way a big brother should.

 

What does he need to work on to get to the NHL?

I think Shane just needs to keep doing what he’s doing and he’s going to be a big time NHL player. He’s a lot bigger than people think and he’s so strong. I think he can shoot the puck a bit more, he has a great shot. Not to mention, keeping his head up, haha.

 

Is he preparing to make the Senators this year or is he focused on the 67’s for now while preparing for Sens camp?

He’s always prepared for what might come to him. I know he’s going into Sens camp determined to make it very hard for them to send him back to the 67’s. He’s totally confident that he can put up points in the NHL right now and he’s dying to prove it. I feel the same, I don’t doubt him anymore ha ha. So I think he’s going up there to be the best player on the ice and if he gets sent back to the 67’s he will kick it up another gear and do all he can for the 67’s.

 

Where is Shane spending his summer, for training etc.?

I think Shane has been away from home this summer more than he has actually been home! Between the NHL Draft, Sens development camp, and Team USA camp it’s been a crazy summer for him. When he’s home he trains on ice at Maksymum Hockey in Rochester, NY. He does his strength training at Atlas Gym in Spencerport NY. Our family is great friends with his trainer and former owner of Atlas, Rick Billitier. Rick has helped Shane get to where he is today with great workouts and nutrition guidance. Rick is a great mentor and holds Bible Studies at his house which Shane attends.

 

Was he happy to be staying in Ottawa?

Words can’t even describe how perfect being drafted to Ottawa was not only for him but for the whole family! He is extremely excited to have the opportunity to continue his NHL career in Ottawa. We are all so happy that we are close enough to be able to watch him play in the NHL. I remember at the draft I was looking right at the Senators table. Right before he was called up the guys at the Senators table kept talking and looking right up at Shane. I didn’t say anything though because this happened several times with other teams and he wasn’t selected, this time he was! He is so familiar with the Ottawa area now that playing for the Senators should be nothing but perfect! We have friends there now and love the city. It’s like we have 2 homes.

 

Was the draft in Minnesota more fun or nerve wracking for the family?

All I remember is looking down at my hands during the draft when they were calling names, my hands were shaking SO much. At least, in my opinion, the draft was definitely more nerve wracking than fun! I wanted him to get drafted in the first round but then again I didn’t want him to have to go far away. I remember the night after the first round was a little disappointing. My dad took us out to eat at some crazy late night place with all these punk rockers in there. It was hilarious but the food was great. The next day we did it all again after a good nights sleep and it was a relief knowing that he was certainly getting called on day 2. When we heard his name called by the Ottawa Senators my whole body got the chills! It was like all the tension leaving my body at once and on top of that it was Ottawa! It was like a huge reward going to the Senators! I told Shane I wanted to be the first to hug him, and I was! Don’t get me wrong though, everything was still extremely fun! It was fun going to the Mall of America and meeting all the players in the hotel. My little cousins were interviewed on Live TV for a Minneapolis News broadcast. When you see your brother being stopped in the streets of Minneapolis to sign autographs you know it’s going to be an insane trip! It was an experience that my family and I will never forget!

*  *  *  *  *  *

As I mentioned in the discussion, Olivia has created a YouTube channel with some video evidence of the bond between her and Shane, from the draft and life in general.  You can see the clips here:

 

The bond of family is obviously strong with the Prince’s
Many thanks to Olivia Prince for sharing her thoughts on Shane Prince, the person,with us!

 

Now for my scouting report of Shane Prince, the Player.

Shane Prince isn’t someone who will put you in awe with any one skill in particular, which is what may have kept him from being drafted in the first round.  However, you would be hard pressed to find any weakness in his game.  He is a strong skater, good playmaker and possesses an above average shot.  He is not huge, but will get bigger in time.  In his own end he is more than adequate, as you have to be in the 67’s system.  He had a breakout season at the right time, playing alongside LA Kings prospect Tyler Toffoli and Oilers pick Ryan Martindale for most of the season.  When Olivia mentioned keeping his head up, she was referring to a late season hit from Niagara Ice Dog’s Tim Billingsly.  The hit knocked Prince out of action for a time and he wasn’t quite the same when he came back in the playoffs, perhaps a bit too early.  But that shows his dedication to team and trying to win.

However, there appear to be no lasting effects from the injury as Prince excelled at the USA National Junior team evaluation camp this summer.  He made the final 28 man roster for the mini-tournament, which bodes well for him making the US Junior team this December.

Prince was a good 2nd round pickup and will definitely be playing somewhere in Ottawa for the foreseeable future, with a possible stopover in Binghamton in the 2012-13 season.

Prince and the rest of his 67’s teammates will be in Ottawa for the opening of training camp today.  Then Prince will be attending the Senators rookie tournament and then probably an invite to the main camp.  He will likely be sent back to the 67’s for the season, but should get a look in at least one exhibition game for the Senators.  You can bet Olivia and his parents  will be there to cheer him on every step of the way!

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