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Interview with Dundee legends, Jason Shmyr

Posted 24/07/2013

 

Jason Shmyr first started is career playing with the Anchorage Aces in the WCHL before moving on to play for the San Diego Gulls before going on to play 45 games in the ECHL and over 160 games in the AHL for Portland and Houston.  

 

In his 2 seasons with the Stars, Jason played 96 games and recorded just under 100 points for the club, while also recording over 400 penalty minutes.  

 

Once Jason left the Stars, it was unfortunate that a guy with his talent gave up the game, here's thinking what he would have been like had Stars been accepted into the EIHL in 2005!

 

1) You started your career in 1996 with the Anchorage Aces in the WCHL and played a season and a half with them before moving to the San Diego Gulls.  How would you describe that league and the standard of hockey?

 

Jason - "The WCHL was a great league to start my career in. It was a league full of great cities up and down the west coast. The league was in its first few seasons of inception when I arrived and was a great opportunity for me to develop my game. I was just starting my career and was lucky to be surrounded by great teammates and coaches."

 

2) In 1999, you made the step-up to the AHL, how was the transition from the hockey you were playing to playing in the league just below the NHL?

 

Jason - "The season before I signed with the Washington capitals in 1999, I was playing in Winnipeg in the IHL. The IHL was a great stepping stone for me because it was a league full of ex NHL players and upcoming prospects. The IHL later combined with the AHL to form one league. Again this was a great opportunity for me to develop my game surrounded by great players and coaches.  Randy Carlyle was our head coach in Winnipeg and was the biggest influence I had in my hockey career. I learned an incredible amount about being a professional hockey player while in Winnipeg and that made it a lot easier heading to NHL camps and eventually playing in the AHL, where every day was a battle but an opportunity to hopefully one day be called up to the NHL."

 

3) In 2003 you made the decision to sign for the Dundee Stars. You had never played hockey outside of North America before, so how did this move come about?  Was the decision that little bit easier knowing that you would once again be playing with Mark Thompson having played with him the season before?

 

Jason - "After playing for a few years in the AHL I felt like my opportunity to make the NHL was fading. I was considering putting an end to my hockey life when a teammate, Mark, said he was looking at playing over seas. Long story short, I had a real itch to travel and this looked like a good opportunity to play some hockey and see a new part of the world. Being a country where golf was born was definitely an added incentive."

 

4) The next season you stayed with Dundee and went on to become captain of the playoff winning team, just how special a moment was that in your career?

 

Jason - "The second season we had a lot of ups and downs during the season, and to have it all come together for us at the right time was something I won't forget. I don't believe people would have called us the favorites to win, but we were a team that fed off each others contributions and made it a real team victory. It was truly one of the most gratifying moments in my life."

 

5) Throughout your hockey career, what would you say was your greatest hockey moment?

 

Jason - "It is really hard to pick a greatest moment in my hockey career. It was a combination of so many different moments in different situations with a group of different people, each one having a collection of times I will never forget. 

 

"One of the greatest sensations I would get in hockey was after a big fight, the intensity and adrenaline was like no other. And if you could change the momentum of the game, it was like  what I am sure a goal scorer would feel if they scored a hat trick to win a game.

 

"Probably for me though, it would have to be signing an NHL contract with the Washington Capitals. It was such a serial moment for me, dreaming of playing in the NHL most of my life."

 

6) Over your career you have played with and against some great players who are playing at various high levels of hockey around the world.  Who is the best player you have played with? And who is the best player you have played against?

 

Jason - "There were a lot of good hockey players that I had the pleasure to play with, but maybe the most talented was Glen Metropolit who played between the AHL and NHL for most of his career, but had a few good seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. I also got to play along side Adam Oates during our NHL camps.

 

"But the greatest all around player that I played with though was probably Dan Bylsma. He was so committed and was willing to sacrifice what ever it took to win. He was a guy who would literally put his face in the way of a shot. He was a great mentor to me. 

 

I was lucky enough to play against a lot of now great NHL players that were starting their careers in the minors, but the greatest player I played against would probably have to be Martin St.Louis."

 

7) You were known as a tough guy and one moment that stands out for me was the night you and Paul Berrington were scrapping with quite a few of the Newcastle Vipers players in Newcastle. Who is the toughest guy I have went toe-to-toe with?

 

Jason - "Toughest?  Anyone who is willing to drop the gloves is a warrior in my eyes. There was one night that we were playing Grand Rapids and I ended up tangling with both Marty McSorely and Chris Neil in a game that ended with a good old fashioned line brawl."

 

8) Dundee Stars Team-mates

 

*Best Trainer - Andy Bell, he's one of the real good guys. I loved my time and stories with Andy.

 

*The Joker - Davie Smith, still one of my favorite guys. Always a good time with Davie. 

 

*Fastest - definitely Paddy Lochi. I was lucky enough to play most of my first season with Paddy and he could burn around the best of them.

 

*Most Intelligent - had to be Dave Trofimenkoff. He was too smart to be a goalie.