Ghost Bear Sinks His Teeth Into Success

It would be an understatement to say that Shayne Gostisbehere’s first season in the NHL was a doozy. In mid-November, the Philadelphia Flyers called up the 23-year-old defenseman from its AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and his impact on the orange and black was immediate.

On Jan. 19, Gostisbehere notched a goal in a losing effort against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Two days later, he picked up a pair of assists. The following game brought another assist.

For 15 consecutive games, Gostisbehere continued to rack up points, finishing his streak with five goals and 13 assists for a total of 18 points. The streak was the longest by an NHL defenseman in more than 20 years and the third-longest by an NHL rookie since the 1980s. It was also one of the longest point-streaks of the 2015-16 season, second only to fellow American Patrick Kane’s 26-game run.

Shayne Gostisbehere

Position: Defense
Shoots
: Left
Height:
5-foot-11
Weight:
180 pounds
Birth Date:
April 20, 1993
Hometown:
Pembroke Pines, Fla.
College Hockey:
Union College
Acquired:
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012
USA Hockey History:
Won a gold medal with the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship

Beyond helping out his team, the Pembroke Pines, Fla., native’s success also led to plenty of attention from media and fans alike. It has even earned him the nickname: The Ghost Bear.

“I didn’t really think about the point streak too much when it was happening,” Gostisbehere said after it ended. “The coolest part about it was how much my teammates loved it and helped me through it. I definitely look back on it and say, ‘you know, how the heck did I do that?’”

While the season was definitely his coming-out party in the NHL, Gostisbehere isn’t a stranger to success. In 2013, he was part of the U.S. National Junior Team that won gold at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

“When you play with and go against the best players in the world at your age, it gives you confidence for your game just realizing that you can play with these guys,” he said.

The following year, in his third season with Union College, the dynamic defenseman helped lead the Dutchmen to its first NCAA championship title.

“It absolutely gave me confidence going into my career,” said Gostisbehere, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four. “My college days prepared me for professional life, not only on the ice but especially off the ice. Union taught me life skills like good character, being a humble person and staying level-headed.”

And even as the Ghost Bear prepares for his sophomore season, he knows that what’s most important is remembering to keep his feet on the ground.

“He’s had a real positive impact for us and with that comes a lot of spotlight and attention. But he’s done a good job of continuing to work at and build his game,” said Flyers Head Coach Dave Hakstol.

“He hasn’t tried to change his game, he’s stayed within himself, and I think if you asked him, he’d give a lot of credit to his teammates, which has been one of his real strengths. He shows up, goes to work every day and tries to be a good teammate.”

It’s that blue collar mentality that could propel him to a long and successful career in the City of Brotherly Love.

“It’s important to remember where you came from and stay within yourself,” Gostisbehere said. “Don’t get too big of a head. And hard work pays off.”

 

 


 

 

Youth Star

Julia Sinople
Age: 15
Chicago

Julia Sinople doesn’t have a lot of spare time these days. Between her school obligations, the hours she spends serenading patients at the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital with her violin and playing hockey, this high school sophomore is fully booked.

At 6 years old, she switched from figure skating to hockey after falling in love with the intensity of the game. Though it was a challenge to be the only girl on several boys’ teams, Julia stuck with it, persevering when others might have given up.

Now at age 15, Julia plays on Team Illinois’ Girls 16 & Under team, where she has made friends for life. She has attended three USA Hockey Central District Camps, where she met her idol, U.S. Olympian Brianna Decker.

The Lake Forest Academy student also plays field hockey, lacrosse and soccer, though there’s no question about where her true passion lies.

“Hockey is definitely my favorite sport,” she says.

Outside of sports, Julia has been an avid musician since she first picked up the violin at the age of 4. For years, she has combined her love of music with her desire to help people by volunteering at local hospitals.

“I love helping people, especially veterans,” says the aspiring lawyer. “They deserve attention after what they’ve done for our country.”

Issue: 
2016-09

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