03/10/2014 2:46 PM
This year’s Portland Pirates team roster is full of players of different sizes as well as different hockey backgrounds. Every player has his own unique path as to how they got to this level, and that is no different for Brendan Shinnimin. At first glance pro scouts might have counted Shinnimin out because of his size, but the Coyotes saw something else from the 5’10 forward. Prior to playing for the Pirates, Shinnimin spent four seasons with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, where he saw his point totals increase each year while playing there. Shinnimin tallied 25 points in 2008-2009, 82 points in 2009-2010, 96 points in 2010-2011, and 134 points in 2011-2012. It was his after the 2011-2012 season that Shinnimin signed an AHL contract with Phoenix, and he credits the contract to staff in Tri-City.
“When I was 16 I tried out for Tri-City and made it to the last cut, which was kinda disappointing, but when I went back the next year as a 17-year-old I was able to crack the roster. I had a good career there with great coaches and great management,” said Shinnimin. “I went on to play 4 seasons there, and did some pretty special things and played on some pretty special teams. The whole development process for me was huge in taking the next step to sign a pro contract. I don’t think I would’ve wanted it any other way.”
Even though Tri-City went on to win the Western Conference Championship in 2009-10, Shinnimin still labels the contract signing as his favorite memory from his hockey career so far.
“It would have to be signing an AHL contract with Phoenix. I came to camp as a 19-year-old and they offered me a contract and at the time things didn’t quite work out the way we wanted them to, so I ended up going back to Tri-City as a free agent,” Shinnimin recalled. “I went on to have a pretty good season that year, and I was excited to get a call in March from Phoenix telling me that they were still very interested and wanted to sign me. I think that would have to be my favorite hockey moment in my career. It’s a dream of mine to play in the NHL, and signing that contact was the first step to achieving that dream.”
The Coyotes signed Shinnimin to a three year entry level contract on March 2, 2012, in the midst of Shinnimin’s best season with Tri-City. During 2011-12, Shinnimin led the entire Canadian Hockey League with 134 points, earning him the Bob Clarke Trophy as the WHL’s leading scorer and the Four Broncos Trophy as the 2012 WHL Player of the year.
In his first season as a pro (2012-2013), Shinnimin played in 74 games for the Pirates, collecting 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists). He went into the 2013-14 season feeling confident, and with high expectations towards improving on his solid rookie year. After a good start to the year, a mid-season concussion on December 31st against Bridgeport held the forward out for an extended period of time, and he says it was the mental impact that had the biggest toll.
“I would say the mental aspect of it. I have always been a guy who has been in pretty good shape, which wasn’t the issue, it was more the part where I had to sit out and watch. Our team was also struggling at the time, so it was really tough to not be able to be out on the ice helping my teammates,” Shinnimin said. “I had to stay at home when the team was on the road, a concussion is a weird injury. There is no set comeback date or set way to address it, it’s different from person to person, and for me it was a long recovery and I am glad that I got over it and am back helping out our team.”
Since returning to the ice Shinnimin has added some spark offensively to the lineup, scoring 5 goals in his last 6 games. With both Brandon MacMillan and Andy Miele up with Phoenix, and Chris Brown no longer in the organization, Shinnimin’s offensive spark comes at a key time for the Pirates. He will be relied on throughout the rest of the year to continue producing as one of the top offensive threats for Portland.
Pirates fans should keep their eyes on #16 this season, and if they haven’t done so yet, follow @ShinboSlice on Twitter. “It started when I was 18 or 19, playing juniors, and ever since then it has been my nickname.”
Get to know #16 Brendan Shinnimin:
Full Name: Brendan Reid Shinnimin
Birthdate: January 7, 1991
Favorite NHL player: Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers
Favorite TV Show(s): Dexter and Breaking Bad
Favorite hockey team growing up: Vancouver Canucks