From the earliest age, Shane Wright knew that he wanted to be a hockey player.
“I know kids my age used to have birthday parties at their house, but I used to tell my parents, ‘Hey, can we rent ice and all my friends come over and go on the ice?’” he said.
“So I think just a love for the game, and I just want to be around the game all the time.”
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When he was first exposed to organized hockey, it didn’t take long for Wright to separate himself from the competition. His dad Simon Wright said he remembers those days well.
“It was ages four and five and they immediately elevated him to the five-year-olds to play with that group,” he recalled.
“Then they elevated him to the top tier of the five-year-olds and before you know it, he was kind of having his way a little bit.”
Now 15 years old, Simon is as dominant as ever. This season the speedy centre racked up 150 points in just 72 games at the minor midget level for the Don Mills Flyers, the top-ranked team in Ontario.
Simon, who is six feet tall player and weighs 180 pounds, has been granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada. He is widely expected to selected first overall in the Ontario Hockey League draft on April 6.
“What we found during the process in discussing things with his teachers, his coaches and everybody that he deals with is his maturity and his ability to deal with adversity,” Brad McEwan, Hockey Canada’s head scout, said.
“It’s gonna be a challenge for him even though he’s a really good player.”
Only five players have previously earned the exceptional player status, including Toronto Maple Leaf forward John Tavares, Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad and Edmonton Oiler captain Connor McDavid. They all went on to be drafted first overall to the National Hockey League. Simon is well on his way to joining those stars at the game’s highest level.
“Like any kid growing up, I want to play in the NHL. I think that’s definitely been the end goal for my entire life and that’s still the goal,” he said.
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