The Eugene Generals have seen players from all over the world don the blue and gold colors and jerseys.
From Alaska to Virginia in the United States, from Scotland to Switzerland in Europe, there is certainly no shortage of players who have taken the leap of faith in coming to the second largest city in Oregon.
All players who decide to play any level of junior hockey are taking some sort of leap of faith. Perhaps the biggest leap by a Generals player this season, though, was taken by Goalie Chris O’Shaughnessy. From West Babylon, New York, O’Shaughnessy travelled further than any player on the roster to decide to play hockey in Eugene (a little over 2,950 miles, to be exact). Not only did he travel the furthest, but the goalie is also the youngest player on the roster at fifteen years old.
Of the hundreds of players to skate for the Generals, O’Shaughnessy is only the second from New York (Ken Grabeldinger from Clinton, New York was the first). The young goalie is also the first from Long Island and the closest to live near New York City itself.
Unlike in the Northwest, one of the more popular sports in New York, and the east coast in general, is lacrosse. Sure enough, O’Shaughnessy played lacrosse even longer than he has hockey, starting in kindergarten all the way until high school.
While he began playing both hockey and lacrosse at the age of four, O’Shaughnessy, otherwise referred to as “Osh” by the other players, actually disliked hockey at first. Skating as a forward, he wound up quitting hockey and did not play again until he was seven. It was at that age where his brother’s friend, a goalie, convinced the young Long Islander to give the position a try. From there, O’Shaughnessy found his passion for hockey, this time as a goaltender.
What makes his move across the country to Eugene that more surprising is that O’Shaughnessy has spent his entire hockey career all in Long Island. Most of his hockey years were spent with the Long Island Rebels, where in his last season, he was the starting goalie for an undefeated Rebels team who lost in the finals. After playing for the Long Island Royals, he spent last season as the goaltender for the Midget 16U AA Long Island Ice Cats under Head Coach Chris Lloyd, whom O’Shaughnessy praised as his favorite coach while growing up in New York.
Eventually, O’Shaughnessy had to make the tough decision many young athletes have to face: choosing one sport to focus on over another. In the end, hockey won out over lacrosse, which led to the next step in choosing a junior hockey team to stop pucks for.
With his older brother playing juniors before him, O’Shaughnessy searched for teams he believed to be a good fit for himself. After finding out about a team called the Eugene Generals, he was impressed by what he saw and thought that the organization “seemed like a great program.” Contacting Generals Head Coach Justin Kern about more information, he quickly decided that Eugene was the best place for him to begin his junior hockey career.
Like the twenty other players currently on the roster, O’Shaughnessy attended the Generals Main Camp two weeks ago, where he had to prove himself to earn a spot on the team. After a good showing at camp, O’Shaughnessy joined the Generals as the only fifteen-year old on the team’s current roster (he will turn 16 in October).
Describing the weekend as “an overall great camp,” O’Shaughnessy is not only excited to get his first junior hockey year underway, but also for the potential of this Generals team.
“I’m just looking forward to having a good year. I really liked how Main Camp went and I think we are going to have a strong team,” expressed the Long Island native. “I’m just trying to prove myself so I can play more games. It’s going to be a great year with all the players, coaches, and staff.”
Once his Generals career is over with, O’Shaughnessy hopes to play at a higher level, specifically NCAA. One of his reasons for coming to the Generals is the team’s history of moving players to higher levels of hockey. “I feel the Generals can help me with where I want to go in the future.”
The Generals do have a long list of alumni who have moved on to NCAA Division III and other leagues. Perhaps he can take a similar path to former Generals Goalie Daniel Spencer, who also travelled nearly 3,000 miles from New Jersey to Eugene and then committed to Finlandia University in Michigan.
With five years of eligibility remaining, O’Shaughnessy does not have to make that decision for quite some time. Until then, the young goalie from New York looks forward to developing on and off the ice, as well as enjoying his time as a member of the Eugene Generals.
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