By Ross Forman – Samuel Sheedy admitted that the 2019-20 season was “pretty rough” with a “big learning curve,” as it was his first time playing defense in years.
He had been a goalie.
“It has definitely been a difficult transition, however, with support of my team, it has definitely been a fun journey,” said Sheedy, 17, a junior who attends Antioch Community High School and skates for the co-op Lakers Hockey Club JV Team.
“At the beginning, I had a hard time adjusting and really could not keep up with the speed of (the play). However, I have gotten used to it and am up to par with everyone else.”
A left hip injury forced Sheedy’s position change.
“I am having a lot of fun this season and am bonding with my team. I am seeing a lot of improvement from last year, which is good,” Sheedy said. “My personal goals would be to keep learning more about the game and getting better. I’m not the biggest player on my team, nor the smallest, so being able to put myself in the play and to just play well is something that I am really hoping to do.”
Sheedy is a brave, aggressive player, and he is not afraid to take a hit to make a play.
“My favorite memory (was) doing a camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning goalie coach, Frantz Jean. It was beneficial, especially at the start of my time as a goalie,” he said. “I never thought I would get to meet someone so well-known, nonetheless be trained by him. I even took one of his slapshots to the face, which despite the ear-ringing, was pretty cool since that was probably the hardest shot I had ever taken.
“My playing highlight was in one of my last games as a goalie. We were going against one of the best teams in our division and I faced more than 70 shots on goal. We were leading 2-1 late in the game but gave up two goals in the last minute. Despite the loss, being the underdogs in the game and holding off so many shots, that was an exhilarating experience. My team was still proud of me for keeping us in the game and I was happy with my performance.”
Sheedy’s slightly torn labrum would have gotten worse had he stayed in goal. So, he opted for defense. His goaltending experience helped him on D, particularly for positioning, he said.
“I quickly learned where I should be and what I can do to help the goalie, as (a former goalie),” he said.
Lakers coach Mike Leitza said Sheedy is a “great leader” and is the JV captain this season. “He is a vocal leader who is nowhere near the best player on the team, but easily the best leader on the team.”
Sheedy said, “I always try to be the pump-up person. I get our energy flowing and get us ready to go mentally, and I try to be friends with everyone on the team. Giving that sense of security in one another has definitely been something we needed, and I am glad knowing that I helped bring that on. Our team has definitely been a lot closer than other seasons.
“I am always there for the team, helping others on and off the ice.”
**Photos courtesy of Samuel Sheedy**
Slapshots With … Lakers Samuel Sheedy
Uniform Number: 11
Youth Hockey Teams: Kenosha Komets and Pleasant Prairie Patriots
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: “Even though he just retired, my favorite NHL player by far was Corey Crawford. He helped to carry the team to two Stanley Cup victories and was always an inspiration to me. Not only was he an amazing player, but he did a lot out in the Chicago community as well, and in my eyes was just a great role-model. He got me interested in goaltending and helped strengthen my love for the sport.”
Favorite Sport (Other Than Hockey): Tennis
Favorite Pro Athlete: “I don’t know if he would be considered an athlete, but one of my most favorite people involved in NASCAR is Kyle Busch. I have always dreamed of being a race car driver since I was a kid, and Busch was always someone I looked to be. Being little, he drove my favorite car, the M & M car, and since then has always been someone I looked out for or watched for whenever NASCAR was on TV.”
Favorite App: YouTube – “I learn a lot about both hockey and tennis; I learn things for automotive repair, and I just find genuinely cool information in random videos that are recommended to me. You can find almost anything on YouTube, and it is definitely a good way to pass time, learn things and be entertained.”
Favorite TV Show: Doomsday Preppers
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: “I enjoy going to Panera Bread, getting soup and salad. It is something light, good and healthy energy, so I’ve seen quite a boost in my energy compared to going out and eating a burger or something like that.”
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Gordon Ramsay
Best Hockey Tip: I definitely learned the most important thing you can do is to watch a player’s body language, which I learned from my goalie coach, Roy Perfetti. It was not only useful as a goalie, but useful as a player as well.”
Teammate Who You Could See As A Hockey Coach: Shane Bystrek – “He has good game-sense and a good sense of humor. He would do a good job teaching a high school or bantam team.”
Hardest Slapshot on the Lakers: Robbie Greene – “If he gets a good shot off, it is like a rocket and I can guarantee that it makes the goalies hand sting if he catches it.”
Most Accurate Shot: Carter Buckingham – “He spends a lot of his free time shooting around, and it pays off. He can put it in practically any corner or any place you ask him to.”
Fastest Skater: Josh Monge
Favorite Pump-up Song: My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark by Fall Out Boys.
Favorite Sports Movie: “Although not the most realistic, my favorite sports movie is Real Steel, a robot boxing movie.”
Best High School Uniforms (other than Lakers): Saint Ignatius Wolf Pack
Little-known Fact: “I like to cook for my family, which isn’t something people would look at me and assume I do.”
Off-Ice: “I spend a lot of time in Boy Scouts and (playing) other sports, such as tennis. I also help out in my community whenever I can through volunteering, and of course being a teenage boy, I like video games. I also play piano, which is something that I have been very active in for years.”
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.