FLOWER’S COVE No matter what Shannon Moores achieves in his amateur hockey career, very few will doubt his passion for the game.
The 16-year-old Level 2 student at Canon Richards Memorial Academy in Flower’s Cove is a rookie forward with the Western Kings of the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League.
Moores makes the four-and-a-half hour drive to Corner Brook every weekend to be a member of the Kings. The Kings play all their games on the weekends so once school is out Moores makes the trek to the city with his parents Randy and Ruby Moores of Flower’s Cove. The Kings hold a regular weekly practice on Wednesdays that Moores can’t attend because of his schoolwork and logistics, but he does manage to take in his Thursday or Friday practices when it doesn’t interfere with his studies. He grew up causing nightmares for goalies in the Straits Minor Hockey Association and last season he padded his ice-time by suiting up with the AAA Midget Western Bruins for a provincial tournament.
Looking toward this season, his competitive nature told him he should give major midget hockey a shot.
“I would rather play this high level of hockey than I would my house league all the time because I like this hockey better and it’s worth the try,” Moores said earlier this week. “I have a lot more fun playing major midget. It is more intense and more competition.”
He goes to the rink every night with one goal in mind and isn’t afraid to put in the time to get the results he wants.
“I don’t like to lose and every game I play I want to play as hard as I can,” he said.
That positive attitude is apparently spreading throughout the team’s locker room as they ride high on a six-game unbeaten string to start the season. Moores knows his rookie season will be a lot different than what teams in the past few years dealt with now that there appears to be more of a level playing field. He hopes the days of the St. John’s entries — the St. John’s Maple Leafs and St. John’s Privateers — dominating the opposition are over and all teams can have a shot at winning the championship.
“It feels good to know you are a competitor and right now we’re a team to beat,” he said. “It’s different playing on a team like that when previous years the team finished in the middle of the pack ahead of Tri-Pen and IcePak most times, but now knowing you got a chance to win really puts it in perspective.”
He admits the transition from house league play on the Northern Peninsula to major midget has taken a bit of time because everything is so much faster and there is a lot more physical play than he was accustomed to before making the jump. However, he is becoming more aware of his surroundings on the ice and becoming used to things such as being quicker in moving the puck because there is less time to dangle.
The Kings hope to extend the winning streak this weekend with a two-game set against the St. John’s Maple Leafs this weekend at the Pepsi Centre. The Kings swept the baby Leafs last weekend on the east coast to improve to 6-0 and top spot in the league.
What will it take to extend the streak?
“Just go out and play hard, keep the hitting up and keep the intensity up,” he said.
Moores is content playing with the Kings and he has never lost sight of the fact that it’s his parents who are really making the sacrifices. He is just taking advantage of an opportunity to do something he thoroughly enjoys.
“Dad is all for hockey as long as I keep my marks up. He’s willing to do whatever and mom ... she just goes along with it,” he said with a light chuckle.
The Kings clash with the Maple Leafs tonight 7 p.m. at the Pepsi Centre. The second game of the series is slated for Sunday 10 a.m. at the Pepsi Centre.