On October 22nd, The Carolina Hurricanes signed veteran center Drew Shore to a one-year, two-way contract, his first NHL contract since 2017. I had the opportunity to speak with Shore about his journey back to the NHL. In this article, we take a closer look at that journey, examining his early years, his travels overseas and his road back to North America. As you can see, he’s well traveled but has learned a lot, with even more left to prove.
Shore is the oldest of four brothers at 29 years old. His brothers Nick, Quentin, and Baker are 28, 26, and 21, respectively. His love of hockey started at the age of three when he watched the Stanley Cup Finals with his Dad, and after watching a couple of games, he announced to his parents Sarah and David that he wanted to learn how to skate and try hockey.
When he received a jersey for Christmas he said, “ A couple of my Dad’s buddies played hockey, so I started getting into it from them, I got a jersey for Christmas when I was three and it just went from there.” He quickly picked up the game of hockey and joined the University of Denver junior Pioneers youth program.
Shore’s Early Experiences
The first game he saw in person was a Denver Pioneers game at the old DU arena. He said he doesn’t remember when it was but that he was between three and six years old because the old DU arena closed when he was six.
In 2003, at age 12, he played in the Quebec International pee-wee tournament for the Colorado Jr. Avalanche. The following year, at age 13, the strong-willed Shore started leaving sticky notes in prime locations around his home and writing letters to his parents weighing the pros and cons of allowing him to move to British Columbia and stay with a billet family to advance his career.
In the end, he was allowed to go and began playing for the North Shore Winter Club U-15 team where he spent two seasons before moving on to the Honeybaked Minor Midget team in Detroit. There, he registered 34 points in 31 games played.
The following season, he joined the US Development Program’s U-17 team before advancing to the U-18 team after his birthday in January.
Shore’s U-17 and U-18 Years
In 2008, Shore represented Team USA for the first time at the 2008 world U-17 hockey challenge where he won a Silver Medal.
That season, he split time between the North American Hockey League and the USNTDP U-18 Team, and while with the Development Program, he caught the attention of NHL Scouts with his offensive ability. Going into the 2009 NHL Entry Draft he was ranked 32nd among All North American skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau.
Two years prior, in 2007, he committed to the University of Denver, which was an easy choice for Drew. Considering that his parents met at DU in the 1980s while attending law school and their first date was at a Pioneers game, there was history there. So too, he and his three brothers attended hockey camps at DU.
He was drafted by the Chilliwack Bruins who were in the WHL at the time but ultimately decided to stay close to home and attend college at the University of Denver. He began his freshman year in 2009, but saw limited ice time due to the team having an abundance of upperclassmen. Still, he managed to tally 19 points in 41 games played.
At the end of his freshman year, he was selected 44th overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
In his sophomore year, Shore ramped up his point production to 46 points in 40 games played, nearly tripling his point production in one game fewer than the season prior. That production earned him the title of the team’s top scorer. Also in December 2010, he once again represented Team USA in the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships and came back to Denver with a Silver Medal.
In his Junior year, he led the team in scoring with 52 points in 42 games played and named Captain of the team. At the end of his junior year, he decided to forgo his senior year and turn pro.
He says that one of his favorite moments from his time in college was playing with his brother Nick, who was a freshman at the time.
Joining the NHL
On March 27th, 2012, Shore signed his entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers. After signing, he joined the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the team at the time and tallied three points in eight games played.
In the 2012-2013 season, Drew had an excellent chance at making the Panthers roster, but the NHL lockout began, somewhat derailing those plans. The upside was that he had more time to develop. As part of San Antonio’s team, he registered 30 points in 41 games played and played in the 2013 AHL All-Star Game.
Once the lockout ended, he was immediately recalled and made his NHL debut on January 22nd, 2013 against the Montreal Canadiens. 21 days later, he scored his first NHL goal against the Washington Capitals. He finished his rookie season with 13 points in 43 games played.
In the following season (2013-2014), he split his time between San Antonio and Florida. Due to the Panthers abundance of centers and the fact that Drew was nearing his limit of games that he could play to remain waiver exempt, Florida decided to keep him in San Antonio for the beginning of the 2014-2015 season.
Then on January 9th, 2015, he was traded to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Corban Knight. At the time of the trade, he had 30 points with San Antonio which was 12th in league scoring, and he had also played in his 2nd all-star game.
Shore Goes to Play Overseas
Shore made his Calgary debut on January 15th, 2015 against the Arizona Coyotes. He spent parts of two seasons with the Flames organization before moving on to Europe to continue his career.
“Your dream is to play in the NHL and I got a taste of that when I was younger, but at a certain point I had to go overseas, and had a really good experience, but at the same time you’re always looking to get back to the NHL.”
On August 12th, 2016, he signed a one- year deal with EHC Kloten of the Swiss National League A where he led the team with 24 goals and 48 points in 50 games played. He also played as a loan player for HC Davos in the Spengler Cup where he was named to the tournament All-Star team.
At the end of the regular season, he was granted a release from his contract, left EHC Kloten and signed a one-year pro-rated contract with the Vancouver Canucks. He played out the remaining 14 games of the regular season, registering two assists, but was unable to continue producing at the same rate with the Canucks that he did in Switzerland. He opted to return to the Swiss National League, signing a two-year contract with the ZSC Lions on May 29th, 2017.
Shore spent two seasons with ZSC before moving on to the KHL. On December 27th, 2018, he signed a one-year deal with Kunlun Red Star. He spent one season with Kunlun before signing a one-year contract with Dynamo Minsk on August 3rd, 2019. He spent three months with Dynamo before his contract was terminated on November 5th, 2019.
Nearly two months later, on December 24th, 2019, he signed a contract with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod for the remainder of the 2019-2020 season.
Shore Wanted to Get Back to the NHL
Shore notes that his goal the whole time he was playing overseas and moving from team to team was to eventually make it back to the NHL. He said:
“Obviously, being 29 years old I’m getting a little older, but I feel like I’ve gotten better every year as a player. And I feel as a player I’m a lot better player than I was when I played in the NHL at 23, 24. So I was always hoping that I’d get that chance and now I’m just hoping to make the most of it.”
And he did it. On October 22nd, 2020, after three years overseas he made his return when he signed on with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Many doubted he’d get back to the best league in the world. He proved them wrong by working through all the challenges of playing overseas and improving his game enough to earn a contract with the Hurricanes. Shore said, “I’m really just looking forward to proving that I can be a reliable two-way centerman in the NHL.” He adds he’s really looking to prove all the doubters wrong through his play.
His Overseas Experiences Should Help
Shore explains the hardest part about playing overseas was the language barrier. “It was tough,” he said. “I played in Switzerland and in Russia and both countries have a lot of good things about them but the language barrier was tough at times.”
Specifically, it can be difficult to find a rhythm on the ice. “… in Russia if you were playing with two guys that didn’t speak a lot of English and obviously, I didn’t speak a lot of Russian, but overall I had a lot of great experiences in both”.
Through perseverance and hard work he re-ignited his career and made it back to the NHL, which was his goal during his time spent in Europe.
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