Amanda Shaw One of the Unsung Heroes of Women's Hockey

Mark Staffieri@@MarkStaff100Contributor IIApril 25, 2013

Image obtained from Toronto Furies website
Image obtained from Toronto Furies website

As one of the most underrated competitors in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, Amanda Shaw is a stoic, hardworking defender that brings great maturity to the Toronto Furies lineup. While Shaw is not even 30, she is one of the more experienced players on a very young Furies squad that was rebuilt during the 2012-13 season.

Prior to competing in the CWHL, Shaw played women’s hockey with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland. Of note, she was the roommate of Jaclyn Hawkins, founder of Women’s Hockey Life. The two played together for the Lions in Switzerland.

”Actually, Jaclyn and I go back further than Switzerland. We went to the Canadian Under-22 camps. I am proud of her. She is passionate and a great ambassador for the game. She has spread the word for the game on her website. I am proud of her and she is very deserving of it. She worked hard for it.”

Part of what makes Shaw such a great leader on the Furies is attributed to her background in NCAA hockey. Having played with the Boston University Terriers, Shaw claimed the program’s Unsung Hero Award in her senior season.

“It is given to the player that is not in the headlines or scores a lot of goals. They work hard and are an important member of the team, but they are not the one scoring all the goals.”

Another aspect of the stoicism and dignity that Shaw brings to hockey can also be seen in her connection to Hockey Helps the Homeless. The cause organizes fantasy hockey tournaments in which both male and female participants have professional hockey players compete on a team with them. Currently involved with the cause as an events manager, Shaw helps to organize the details that go into the various events that are staged in any given year.

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Her first involvement with HHTH was during a unique and historic tournament that was held north of Toronto in 2011. “I started in November 2011, actually, when the first women’s event was held at the Magna Centre (in Newmarket, Ontario). The Burlington Barracudas were the CWHL pros participating. I was very impressed and really inspired by the cause.

“It was something that I did not know a lot about; homelessness goes deep. I had stayed in communication with (co-founder and executive director) Gary Scullion. I had contacted him over the next few months. He thought I was a great fit, and it was something we wanted to continue.”

Of note, Shaw also participated in a hockey game with men at the 2012 edition of Hockey Helps the Homeless in Ottawa. “I grew up playing with boys, so I was familiar. It was an absolutely great experience. There are a lot of girls who can’t say they have been on the ice with ex-NHLers. It makes the event more special.”

Having played with the Burlington Barracudas during the 2011-12 CWHL season, Shaw was part of one of the toughest seasons in the history of the franchise. In what would be the final season for the Burlington franchise, Shaw was part of a team that won only one game all season.

The only win for the beleaguered Burlington franchise would come on December 18, 2011, in a 3-2 triumph over the Toronto Furies. Prior to the win, the squad opened the season with eight consecutive losses. Afterward, Shaw and her teammates would endure a difficult 16-game losing streak. Of note, Shaw would log an assist on Mallory Johnston’s goal, in what would be the final game in Burlington history, a 7-2 loss to the Montreal Stars on March 11, 2012.

“Playing hockey has its ups and downs. Some years have highs, there were lows that season. There were coaching changes and it takes time to adjust to a new system. We could not piece everything together and it showed on the ice. We could not turn games into two-point games.”

Claimed by the Toronto Furies in the 2012 CWHL Dispersal Draft, Shaw would become a mentor to many of the younger players that manned the blue line. Prior to the start of the season, Shaw would have the opportunity to bond with her Furies teammates.

“They are a great group of girls. Actually, I played ball hockey with a good majority of them last summer. We bonded together through ball hockey, and it carried over onto the ice. I brought over the experience of playing with Barracudas. It gave leadership qualities to the young girls.”

A teammate of Shaw with Burlington and Toronto, Shannon Moulson (the younger sister of New York Islanders player Matt Moulson) is another key member of the Furies blue line. Having endured a difficult season together in Burlington, both are great character players. Moulson also speaks highly of the experience of calling Shaw her teammate.  

 “I love playing with her. She doesn’t get a lot of credit and she never complains. Behind the scenes, she is really great at what she’s doing for our team and the league. She always shows up and is there when you need her. She is probably the most amazing, helpful, positive person I ever met.”

All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise indicated.