Arizona Wildcats hockey's Shane Gleason returns to action following ailments
Junior Shane Gleason had the second-most points of all the Wildcat hockey defensemen during his freshman campaign. As a sophomore last year, he had high hopes to be first; however, his 2012-13 season was cut short five games due to an illness that kept him off the ice for two weeks.
Gleason said doctors were never able to define his sickness, but he developed pneumonia-like symptoms right after Arizona’s road series at Illinois in the middle of October 2012.
“It started off with a basic cold — a fever, cough, sore throat — and then it just kind of escalated from there,” Gleason said. “It got a lot worse, and then the antibiotics they gave me made me more sick. It was real bad, and one of them actually made me pass out.”
Shortly after returning, Gleason was concussed for the fifth time in his hockey career. He said it was the worst of all, and it kept him out another week.
It was the longest period of time he had to sit out from hockey, Gleason recalled.
“It was kind of hard to watch the team and not be a part of it,” Gleason said. “You always want to be part of the game and out there with the guys.”
In his first year with Arizona, Gleason accumulated 17 points on two goals and 15 assists. He only missed two games, which were during the home opening series against Texas, due to a shoulder injury.
Last season that point total dropped by 10, without any goals. However, in the opening weekend of this season, Gleason tied for first on the team with four points. Saturday’s performance was his best, as he netted a goal while assisting two.
It was the first time Gleason found the net since Dec. 1, 2011, when he scored on an open net in the Wildcats’ 3-1 win at home against Ohio.
“Scoring goals is great, and it was very joyful. I didn’t know what to do to celebrate to be honest,” Gleason said. “I saw the puck go in and was just kind of come over by emotions for a quick second, and it felt great. There’s nothing like it. “
His play last weekend earned Gleason the coaches’ selection for player of the week.
“He has been giving it his all since the beginning of training camp, and the whole first week of games,” head coach Sean Hogan said, “so it was a pretty natural choice.”
To keep from getting sick again this year, Gleason said he’s taken Vitamin C every day since the beginning of the semester, and has focused on getting more sleep as well.
Gleason also said that the past offseason was a healthy and productive one. Working at the Student Recreation Center while taking a couple of summer classes, he was able to find time to improve his game.
With his free hours spent in his garage practicing stick handling, shooting pucks and working out, Gleason said he was able to commit to both his personal goals and the team.
“Over the summer I was working hard,” Gleason said. “No problems in the weight room or feeling dizzy, so I’m back to 100 percent.”
Gleason said his expectations for himself are more realistic for 2013-14. He explained that the goal is to get at least two points in each series Arizona plays.
“I haven’t played in a home opening weekend yet, and I’m now in junior year, so I’m hoping to stay healthy for this one against NAU and Delaware,” Gleason said. “It’s going to be a fun one.”
— Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo