Neil Shea didn’t just listen to the advice his dad gave him. The 19-year-old Chicago Steel forward took it to heart.
This past June, for the second time, Shea wasn’t selected in the National Hockey League draft. He didn’t expect to be taken, although part of him was hoping his name would be called. But instead of letting his disappointment get the best of him, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has followed the words of his father, also named Neil, an amateur scout for the Colorado Avalanche.
“My dad told me to put my head down and do my best, and don’t worry about what anyone is saying about me or what any other players are doing,” Shea revealed. “He said to just focus on myself and focus on getting better as a player and as a person. At the end of the day, if I just focus on myself, anything can happen.”
Shea entered the 2018 NHL draft following a spectacular second season with Lawrence Academy. After tallying 33 points (16-17-33) in 24 contests in his first campaign playing prep school hockey, he blew past that number with 58 points (24-34-58) in 32 games last season. The ride ended in grand fashion when his club captured the Piatelli/Simmons small-school championship.