By Doug Kennedy
With most hockey leagues shut down across Canada, Kincardine has a strong presence in a couple of leagues that are playing in Europe and the United States.
Doug Shedden has made a name for himself coaching in Germany. He still has family (a brother, Andy, and a sister, Susan) living in Kincardine. He just finished coaching his Germany division-one team for a fifth straight season. Doug and Andy ran a hockey school in Kincardine for a few summers in the 90s.
Shedden split his junior career between Kitchener and Sault Saint Marie. He was a first round NHL draft pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he got to play with Mario Lemieux. He also got to play for the Detroit Red Wings, Quebec Nordiques and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I will always remember when Cliff Fletcher got Shedden up to the Maple Leafs from the American league, to be sure he played 400 NHL games so he got his full NHL pension. The NHL pension has changed a lot since then. It did not protect players back then the way it does now.
This year, Shedden’s team, ERC Ingolstadt, finished in third place. The league played in an empty arena this past winter. He has had great success coaching in Europe, coaching the Finland national team in the world championships in 2007-08 where they won a bronze medal.
Shedden coached in the Central hockey league for six years and won four league championships. Local players Travis Riggin and Jeff Alcombrack played for him in the East Coast League. He coached one year in the UHL and won the league championship. He coached four years in the East Coast League and lost in the finals a couple of times.
He has been coaching in Europe since 2005-06. When I had the Kincardine Bulldogs playing in Finland a few years ago, everyone I talked to knew him. He has made quite an impressive name for himself in Europe. When he took over the Finland national team, he replaced former NHL coach Dave King.
Shedden has been the assistant coach or head coach of Team Canada at the Spengler cup for five years. In 2012-13, he was the head coach when they won the Spengler Cup.
Shedden spends his off season living in Florida with his family.
Ryker Killins moved here from Wawa with his parents when he was in bantam hockey and is still playing in the East Coast League. Killins helped lead the KDSS boy’s hockey team to an OFSAA championship in Peterborough in 2012.
He is playing in the East Coast league in Jacksonville, where the league has dropped down to 14 teams this winter, which is half as many as they usually have.
Ryker started the year in Utah but was traded to Jacksonville two months ago.
He had three assists in 13 games in Utah. In Jacksonville, he has four goals and seven assists in 21 games for the Icemen. It does not look like the Icemen will make playoffs so they will be finished the first week of June.
Ryker played Junior B in Stratford, then moved up to OJHL in Carlton Place, where he lost in the RBC final before playing NCAA division one hockey for Ferris State for four seasons.