The 2013 NHL Entry Draft was held at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. The Anaheim Ducks used their first round pick on 18-year-old defenseman Shea Theodore, who played his junior hockey in the Western Hockey League for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
On September 24th, Theodore signed his three-year-entry deal. Once the 2013-2014 Thunderbirds’ season ended, Anaheim’s brass summoned Theodore to their top development team, the Norfolk Admirals.
Before Theodore and company started the race to the Calder Cup; the left-handed shot answered the following questions.
THW: What can you tell readers about growing up in British Columbia?
S.T.: It’s a great place to grow up and live. There are a lot of hockey fans around and I loved it.
THW: What age did you start playing and what/who got you involved?
S.T.: I started playing around five. My Dad played men’s league here and there and I went to a few of his games and he got me into skating lessons.
THW: Have you always played defense?
S.T.: I believe so. Growing up you go from forward to defense to goalie kind of switching around. I played a little bit of forward in peewee, but ever since then I’ve been a D-Man.
THW: What teams did you play with before you made the jump to the Western League?
S.T.: I played Major Midget for Fraser Valley (BCMML) and then I played in Aldergrove Minor Hockey.
THW: Could you walk us through your development in Seattle with the Thunderbirds?
S.T.: Just playing with older and bigger guys. The schedule is pretty heavy and demanding. You’re playing seventy-two games. You have to be consistent every night and that’s something you learn and that’s something you see in the NHL now a days.
THW: Winning gold in the U-18’s must have been a pretty big thrill for you. How was it representing your country?
S.T.: It was definitely special to get that call and be able to go. We won gold both times we went. It’s definitely an honor and it’s something I’ll remember for a long time.
THW: Who were some of your teammates you played along side in the tournament?
S.T.: Josh Morrissey and Chris Bigras are defensemen who I played with. The list goes on-and-on with the guys who were getting drafted and who are going to be drafted this year. We had some really good teams that were put together.
THW: First rounder last year, what can you tell us about your experience?
S.T.: It was pretty special waking up. I wasn’t too sure where I was going to get picked. There’s always that thought in your mind. It was a pretty relaxed day. My family had enjoying it and I couldn’t be happier to be in this organization.
THW: Were you expecting to go in the first round?
S.T.: My agent told me I would go late first or early second round. I wasn’t exactly sure.
THW: You said it’s great to be in this organization, what makes the Ducks’ organization so great?
S.T.: Just the players that we have here and the coaches and the instruction I’ve been taking since I’ve been up here. There’s nothing bad I can say about being here.
THW: You led all D-Men this season in the “Dub” (Western Hockey League). What was that a result of?
S.T.: I know my offensive game has been there the past few years playing in the Western League, but I feel my defensive game is coming along better. I went from a minus guy last year to a plus player this year, that’s something I was really trying to work on.
THW: How are you adjusting to pro-life?
S.T.: It’s pretty tough for any eighteen-year-old to come in here and play big minutes, but I’m taking it day-by-day and taking everything I can from the guys and all the coaches.
THW: A lot of players who make this jump talk about speed being a difference. What is the biggest difference you’ve seen out on the ice?
S.T.: The size and the quickness of the guys. All the players and the decisions out there have to be really quick or you’re going to get beat so that’s probably the main thing.
THW: What is the biggest hurdle off-ice?
S.T.: Just the weight training that we do here. The strength and conditioning that’s pretty big and all the video sessions that we have. All the in-game footage that’s always pretty big.
THW: You’re on your own for the most part. You’re not with Billets so who is helping you out?
S.T.: I’m rooming with Jaycob Megna, a guy who is out of college and that’s always nice. We have a lot of friends who are helping out and we’re going to the mall and going to get food so it’s really no problem.
THW: Are there any veterans on the team that are helping you with the transition?
S.T.: Guys like Nolan Yonkman. He’s a veteran guy who’s played so many games in the American League and he’s been talking with me and helping me out. I’ve played my first few games with Steve Eminger as a D-partner. He was great helping me out. Just the little tips on positioning and just winning battles from those guys are pretty big.
Draft Day Video
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Ted grew up in Virginia. Warren has a passion for the AHL and dishes out articles about the Norfolk Admirals and the AHL. Follow him on Twitter @bauerhockeydude