Fans of the Marvel Universe have their Defenders series which is very cool. But Cetacean Nation and our Connecticut Whale have our own Marvel-ous Defender : #6 Shannon Doyle, which we think is even cooler. And we’ve been fortunate to have had her on the ice wearing Whale colors for three years, now with an alternate captain A on her sweater. Playing in fifty-six Whale games, she has protected the defensive zone, blocking dozens of opponents shots. Shannon is very active on the offensive end of the ice, sniping over one hundred shots on goal as well. She has also spent a bit of time in Whale Jail, averaging a little over a minute per game in the penalty box. Shannon weighed in on a variety of hockey topics with Cetacean Nation, and shared her insights with us.
Shannon comes from the Toronto area in Ontario, born in Markham, about twenty miles northwest of the city. Cetacean Nation imagined they play a lot of hockey at that end of the Lake Ontario basin, and Shannon confirmed this: “I got started playing hockey when I was really young, as most Canadians do! I originally figure skated but after seeing my older brother Ryan play hockey I immediately wanted to be like him, so then made the switch to hockey.” Moving into the sport of hockey, Shannon’s skating background had to be a plus. She played with both club and national team with the Toronto Junior Aeros and for Team Canada, winning multiple championships, and garnering individual awards. Her international experience included being a gold medal winner with Canada’s Under-18 team at the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's U18 Championship. Her hockey stick as well as the puck she shot to score a goal in that game, are on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Shannon attended Bishop Strachan High School in Toronto where she played both hockey and soccer, earning MVP awards in both sports. Shannon has had a good scoring and play making touch over her career, and Cetacean Nation wondered if she had spent some time as a forward. She replied in the negative, saying: “I have always played defense! The only time I played anything else was one season for my high school team, we needed more forwards and so my coach slid me to center. I was very bad at face-offs but I enjoyed being able to make offensive plays and be creative on the ice with that side of the game.” By the time Shannon, an All-East selection, completed her collegiate hockey career at Boston University, she ranked third in the NCAA in scoring by a defender in her senior year. Cetacean Nation is very impressed by Shannon’s two way play, highlighted by the 100 plus blocks she recorded that same year as a Terrier.
Cetacean Nation is always curious about what waters our Whale swim in during the off season, and Shannon has had a very interesting off season experiennce a couple of years ago. Besides playing ice hockey, Shannon was also a ball or street hockey player, But not the kind you run into during shinny on the tennis or basketball courts with the neighborhood kids. Shannon played for Team Canada in The International Street and Ball Hockey Federation World Championships in the Czech Republic. She was a Tournament All-Star selection and led all scorers at the event. Anyone who has ever shot around that orange ball, will have even more of a bond and affection for Shannon the next time we see her on the ice.
We asked Shannon about her thoughts on expansion, and to share what she sees as the future of the NWHL. She answered “I am incredibly excited about the expansion of the league. It really makes sense to expand to an area that already has an established team and a great fan base, And, there are numerous NCAA D1 players who call the city home. Shannon added: “Free agency is right around the corner for the league. I think, like all past seasons, you will see some exciting moves made by players, and great re-signings too. I love the Whale. I can't imagine playing for another team in the league. We have made great progress from year one to year three. It may not be evident in our won and loss record, but the culture of our team and what it means to be a member of the Connecticut Whale, has made great strides.” Cetacean Nation could not agree more with Shannon’s sentiments.
In an interview with NWHL Zone late last year, Shannon spoke about what it means to be a fan of the NWHL. We think it deserves repeating here. She said: “Being a fan does not mean you have to be at every game. You can tune in on Twitter or YouTube. You can be a fan of the NWHL even if you can't be there in person. However, if you do come and watch us play I promise you will love the level of play and how much each player cares about the fans, too!” Cetacean Nation thinks Shannon’s words are both accurate and prophetic. The fan bases, including Cetacean Nation will continue to grow, and someday attending a Whale game might be something you can do coast to coast. Two Fins Up to #6 Shannon Doyle for her contributions to our Whale past, present & future! Perhaps season four will be the year she skates around the ice hoisting the Isobel while Queen’s “We Are The Champions” reverberates through the rink,
For more thoughts from Shannon see the article DAY’S OF FUTURE PAST on this site.