With the 2020 season indefinitely postponed, the Petes want to showcase how our players are handling the pandemic and preparing for their on-ice return.
Part one of this series features third-year veteran, Shawn Spearing. In 2018, the Petes selected the Toronto native in the fourth round of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection. Throughout his two seasons, Spearing has been a crucial player on and off the ice, appearing in 82 regular season games and tallying 2 goals and 6 assists. Recently Spearing sat down and gave insight into how he is coping with the pandemic and what fans can look forward to at the Memorial Centre over the next few seasons.
Blaind: Coming off a strong record last year how are you going to use that momentum towards the upcoming season?
Spearing: There has been a lot of older defensemen the past two years, I was the youngest on the d-core. Last year I started to get more ice time and started to get trusted more, was definitely nice. Next year I’m just going to look to be that leader on the back end since we have such a young team.
Blaind: How have you been dealing with quarantine and the pandemic?
Spearing: It’s been rocky, to be honest with you. I just picked up a job so I’ve just been working and then working out when I get home.
Blaind: How have your workouts changed through the quarantine?
Spearing: At the start of quarantine I was just lifting heavy and trying to get ready for what was supposed a two-week pause. As you get updates when the season keeps getting pushed back, it kind of alters your workout plans because you don’t want to be going too heavy all the time. So between every update, you change your workout plan.
Blaind: With your workouts, are you focusing on anything specific to prepare for the season?
Spearing: No, it’s just full-body workouts all day since I don’t have any weights. I’ve been getting reps in and keeping my body active.
Blaind: Can you give a breakdown of your workout routine throughout quarantine and how it’s changed?
Spearing: At the start of quarantine I was in Toronto in lockdown so it was mainly all bodyweight stuff at my house with a little bit of weights that I had. Once the gyms started to open up it was more power and then moving into a month before the season it was more of a speed section of it.
Blaind: Before the second provincial lockdown, I heard that you were working out with Keegan in Cambridge, how was that?
Spearing: It was fun. It was just me and him in the gym most days so skating with him and working out with him felt almost as if we were back in Peterborough, hanging out with your teammate all day.
Blaind: This year there are a lot of central players leaving, did you have any players that you looked up to and leaned on your first two years?
Spearing: Throughout my first two years, the team was full of leaders and we were very close so it was more of an easier adjustment having that. Having people like Hudson Wilson, a really big leader, and Zach Gallant. All of the older guys, Jacob Paquette and Akil Thomas, have definitely taught me what to do and helped me out for next season.
Blaind: Taking from what they have taught you, how are you going to help all the new players coming in?
Spearing: There is going to be a lot of them! At the start, it’s definitely about getting everyone comfortable in the dressing room and around the boys. I know when I came my first year, I was nervous and scared to talk up. So since we are going to have a team full of young guys, it’s just making sure everyone’s confident in the dressing room, everyone’s having fun and enjoying themselves.
Blaind: Have you and the team stayed connected through this?
Spearing: We have team Zoom calls with all the prospects and coaches every week so they are definitely trying to keep the boys together, getting ready for the season.
Blaind: Virtual calls definitely don’t rival the in-person connection, does this make staying bonded with your teammates more difficult?
Spearing: Yeah, but the organization is doing a great job of making sure everyone is introduced. On our first day, all of the staff members introduced themselves so they are doing a good job of making sure the prospects know everyone and making everyone feel welcome.
Blaind: Do you have a goal set for yourself through your time in the OHL and with the Petes?
Spearing: With the Petes, I definitely want to win a championship in Peterborough, that would be pretty special for the city. For myself, next year it’s just about becoming a bigger, stronger competitor. Those are my three main goals, coming in bigger, stronger and more of a leader.
Although the pandemic has been hard, Spearing has kept busy and continued to work on his physical strength until hockey can resume. From a two-week pause mid-season to a 10-month lockdown, the Petes defence has made the best of a challenging situation through continuous training and by digitally connecting with his teammates Despite a question mark lurking around the 2020-21 season, Spearing is eager to return to the Patch with his eyes on a championship.