Back on the ice: Shane Storer joins the Skatin’ Utes as a senior

Utah hockey player Shane Storer’s journey back to playing college hockey is not an ordinary one. It’s been a long, tough and soul-searching experience for Storer, but it’s one that has proven more than worth it.

Storer is a rare senior-aged rookie on the Skatin’ Utes hockey team. His experience on the ice started when he was just three years old in Boise, Idaho. Storer said his dad helped get him and his six-year old brother involved in a small local hockey league.

“There was no real rink,” Storer recalls. “The rink was just outdoors in the middle of nowhere.”

Storer really got hooked when he was six. His youth team got to play during the intermission of a semi-pro hockey game. As he was out there, he said the energy of the place and all the people chanting was something he began to crave.

He and his brother, Jake, continued to play through their high school years and even had a chance to play defense together during Storer’s freshman year. Although the two played well together, the brothers had more than just chemistry on the ice.

Yes, they knew where each other would be and what they would do in certain situations, but it was much, much more than that. They had an inherent, one-of-a-kind sibling bond.

One high school game illustrated this perfectly. Storer was hit with a cheap shot from an opposing player, which caused him to leave the game with an injury. As the older brother, Jake took it upon himself to even things out. Soon after the hit that sent Storer to the locker room, Jake had an opportunity to put a legal, hard hit on the player who hit his brother.

That kid learned his lesson in a rather painful way; when you mess with one brother, the other will mess with you.

Storer played his remaining years in high school and served as an assistant team captain. His leadership skills weren’t perfect, though, as he led the team in penalty minutes.

“I did get in trouble, and my temper would get the best of me,” Storer said.

His team struggled being competitive in games, and by the time his senior season was over, Storer felt he had seen enough time playing competitive hockey.

“I hate to lose, and I just got burned out,” Storer said.

Years went by following Storer’s last season on the ice as a senior in high school. He came to the U to pursue his education and to get involved in different social scenes.

“When I moved to college, playing hockey was the last thing on my mind,” Storer said.

Coming back and playing a sport that you’ve been away from for three years is not an easy undertaking, especially at the college level. Storer knew the difficulty of the task in front of him, and he set his mind firmly to it. He set some goals and took action.

“I just dedicated every single day to getting better, even if it was just stickhandling on the tile in the kitchen,” Storer said.

Eventually, Storer got back on the ice. Achieving his personal goal was the primary reason for attempting to come back and play. It’s something his brother was quick to talk about as well.

“I had no doubt he would do it if he wanted to. It takes a lot of determination. It made me really proud of him,” Jake said.

Storer practiced for six months up until tryouts last spring. He had put in the work and felt as prepared as he could hope for when he stepped out on the ice, but it was not without a reality check.

“I thought I was so far over my head, the guys were all so fast and so talented,” Storer said. “I didn’t think I played particularly well during tryouts.”

But apparently he played well enough. The Skatin’ Utes interviewed him and decided he would be a great fit for the team. And finally, all that hard work and training paid off.

“It was super satisfying to see something that I had put so much time and dedication into pay-off. It was amazing,” Storer said.

Storer’s journey back to hockey was a tough one, but he was able to do it with determination and the support of family. Through their strength, he was able to accomplish something that he wasn’t sure he could.

“I’ve proved to myself that I could,” Storer said.

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