For the last few years, forward Shane Eiserman has been a man on the move. This season, he’ll join the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League, his third team in as many years after stints at Cushing Academy and most recently at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.
He’ll have another jersey to add to his growing collection this fall when he takes part in the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 26 in Pittsburgh.
Having spent last season with the NTDP’s Under-18 Team, the West Newbury, Mass., native had a lot of teammates participate in last year’s prospect’s game. That has only built the excitement for Eiserman.
“The guys last year said it was an incredible experience,” Eiserman said. “It’s the top 40 [American players], so it’s an honor to play in the game, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Eiserman, with an October 1995 birth date, missed the eligibility cutoff by just under a month for last year’s draft. That will make him one of the older players at the AAPG and will possibly raise expectations as well. That, combined with the number of NHL scouts in the building and playing in an NHL arena — the CONSOL Energy Center — it would seem the AAPG could be a high-pressure event. Eiserman remains unfazed, though.
“I don’t feel like there’s any pressure,” Eiserman said. “Coming in as one of the older guys, I’ve got to be a leader. I’m going to take that role and do my best and see what happens.”
Eiserman also has a lot of experience with USA Hockey to fall back on when the puck drops in Pittsburgh.
He posted 21 points as a member of the U.S. U-18 team at the NTDP last season as was part of the team that won silver at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia. Eiserman also was part of the U.S. Under-17 Select Team in 2011, helping lead the team to a U-17 Five Nations Tournament title in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Still just a senior in high school, Eiserman will spend his first draft-eligible season in the USHL with the defending Clark Cup champion Fighting Saints. Joining such a successful club in such a crucial year of his young career, Eiserman’s goals for the season remain team-centered.
“Coming to Dubuque, they just came off a Clark Cup championship,” he said. “I’m just going to try and help my team throughout the year to win another Clark Cup.”
Eiserman hopes he can help by utilizing his 6-foot-2, 196-pound frame in more of a power-forward style.
“It looks like I’m one of the bigger guys on the team when it comes to forwards,” he explained. “So I have to use that to my advantage.”
Eiserman said he thinks he needs to work on his confidence with the puck, which will be a big focus this season for him. That should help him build on one of his main strengths, which he identified as driving to and strong play near the net.
Since most players participating in the AAPG haven’t really started their preseasons yet, Eiserman might have the benefit of some extra early competition this season. The Fighting Saints participated in the Junior Club World Cup in Omsk last month in Russia. Eiserman posted two assists in three appearances for Dubuque as the Fighting Saints claimed third place in the tournament, which featured top junior clubs from around the world.
It was the second trip to Russia in four months for Eiserman, after going to Sochi for the U-18 Worlds.
“Playing in international events, I think it’s the best hockey,” said the 17-year-old. “You’re not just playing for yourself or your organization, but for your country. The games get heated, but I really like them.”
The well-traveled Eiserman has had to move around a lot, from team to team and even continent to continent, but he’s happy with the experience so far.
“Each team I go to, I create a bond with everybody,” he said, agreeing that the moving around has made him more adaptable. “The amount of hockey players I know now and the guys, I think it’s benefited me.”
Eiserman is likely to move to yet another new team next year. He is committed to the University of New Hampshire to suit up with the Wildcats next fall.
“I committed freshman year [of high school], so for a while now I’ve been looking forward to going to UNH,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to go there. All I’ve heard is good things.”
Before he can get to campus, though, Eiserman has a big season ahead of him in Dubuque. He’ll also have a chance to make a strong early impression on scouts when he takes the ice for the All-American Prospects Game.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.