Shawn Anderson has been involved in hockey since he was a child. He loves everything about the game. His only regret is not getting a post-secondary education and now he makes it a point to help others not make the same mistake.
Growing up in Lasalle, Quebec, Anderson began his hockey career playing midget hockey with the Lac St-Louis Lions. “I didn’t know it at the time, but I was going to be a hockey player,” said Anderson. “At 17, I received a full scholarship at the University of Maine.”
One of Anderson’s teammates in Maine, Jack Capiano, now head coach with the New York Islanders, gave Anderson some important news. “He used to call me Shawno,” smiled Anderson. “He said, ‘Shawno, your name is in the book for NHL ranking’. I realized then, this was coming quick.”
That Christmas, Anderson was signed up with the Canadian Men’s National Team and played with them for the rest of that year. He was then drafted with the Buffalo Sabres. “I don’t have a glorious NHL story to tell,” said Anderson. “Although I did get to play seven years in the league and then continued in Europe and international before I decided to pack it in.”
Anderson played professional hockey for eight seasons as a defensemen in the National Hockey League for the Buffalo Sabres, Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. Anderson retired from professional hockey in 2004, deciding to coach and see where the road ahead would lead. “I had surgery here and there and have played with broken bones,” explained Anderson. “I thought it was time for me to get out of the game. I came home and started to coach the Lac St-Louis Lions. It came full circle.”
“I had no idea what the future would bring, or where I would end up 10 years from then,” said Anderson. “I developed a business and worked with local kids. I coached and worked for a couple of schools.” Anderson established a business called Hockey Specific Training. The company informs clients on all aspects of hockey both on and off the ice and offers a multitude of training including individual and team training, hockey camps and clinics, hockey schools, spring leagues, strength and conditioning, training and review, and much more as well as encouraging players on the importance of a good education.
In 2010, he received a call to coach the Hawkesbury Hawks. “I looked at the level of play and what the Hawks were doing for their young men,” said Anderson. “I believe there needs to be a development and involvement with the players, and the Hawks were doing that.”
After two years of coaching the Hawks, Anderson had the opportunity to purchase 50 per cent of the team with Sylvain Landers. “I continue to coach and am part owner,” explained Anderson. “I take pride in taking care of the organization and the players. I got involved in the business model and we decided to incorporate the team. It now runs as a business instead of a non-profit as it had for many years.”
Anderson was awarded most games coached for the Hawkesbury Hawks. “I decided to step down as head coach and give the opportunity to Rick Dorval,” Anderson said. “I wanted to take on a role with a little less involvement and focus on newly founded prep school in Hawkesbury at Le Sommet. Since last November, I started this journey of going out and trying to recruit players for Le Sommet. From November through June, we got a complete team in place with 25 players. The Falcons are up and ready to go.”
The Falcons belong to a hockey prep school federation, which is a group of nine organizations traveling to either host cities within the league or neutral cities to showcase the players that may be scouted for NCAA schools. “It is a really complete hockey and academic program,” explained Anderson. “The players go from September through June.”
“Hawkesbury now has three hockey teams trying to make a future in hockey. It’s great for our city and great for our kids. There are very exciting times ahead.”
Anderson said he has been involved in hockey at some level since he was four years old and doesn’t see that changing any time soon. “I’ve never left the game. It’s always been a part of me. I don’t see myself in any other place,” said Anderson. “As my business expands I am not on the ice as much. My goal is to get good people involved. As far as what the future holds, I take it one day at a time. I am only thinking of what is already in front of me. I am excited about the hockey in Hawkesbury.”
Anderson will soon be writing a column for the Tribune-Express called Hockey Talk. The column will begin in September offering readers information on everything hockey. To make comments or suggestions on topics, Anderson can be reached at HockeyTalk@eap.on.ca.