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FGCU Division II Hockey Forward Shayne Tomlinson Strives for an ACHA National Championship

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The Eagles currently sit at the top of the ACHA Southeast Division II standings, with many players contributing to the team’s success. One player who has exemplified that success is sophomore forward Shayne Tomlinson.

As the FGCU Division II hockey team is reaching the end of their season, they are looking to compete for their fourth ACHA National Championship. 

Tomlinson grew up in Port Huron, Michigan, where his love for hockey flourished. Growing up, he spent a lot of time at the rink because his dad played hockey professionally. 

He began playing hockey with different youth teams around Detroit. He then signed a tender (a contract announcing the intentions to play for that specific team) with the North American Hockey League to play junior hockey with the Kenai River Brown Bears in Alaska for a year.

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After playing junior hockey, Tomlinson had the goal to play NCAA Division I but ran into a few roadblocks along the way. He took the year off and moved in with his mom on Marco Island. 

It was there that he ran into the team’s captain, Spence Van Tiem. Van Tiem invited Tomlinson to come to a practice with the team and watch one of their games. 

“So, I went to the game. I loved it. I came out for practice and obviously met Coach Mabie, a couple of the other coaches and stuff like that. I remember the first time skating with him. I just had so much fun,” he said.

Tomlinson joined the FGCU Division II hockey team last season and has made a tremendous improvement. He currently sits in the top three for FGCU with 17 goals and 20 assists up to this point of the season.

“I would say this year, I’m more comfortable with the coaching and some of the guys that I’m playing with. I don’t have the success I have unless you know, we got a great team,” Tomlinson said.

During this first year as head coach, Eric Mabie has worked with Tomlinson in various ways. 

“What’s so unique about Shayne, for me, and I truly mean this, is that his compete level in puck battles is different than a lot of stuff that we see,” Mabie said. “He’s very much engaged in what’s going on. Obviously he has dynamic skill, and he impacts the game offensively very much. Shayne plays with confidence. Shayne is very tough to defend for the other team. So we’re very lucky to have him.”   

With improvement comes preparation. The Eagles play back-to-back nearly every week and have to be ready to hit the ice. This involves eating the right way, taking care of their bodies and going over different systems that will be used throughout upcoming games. Tomlinson said his preparation paves the way for goals throughout the season.

“I just want to have success, you know, and help the team as much as I can. So, at this point, I don’t think it’s really individual anymore,” Tomlinson said. “We want to go into nationals. And I mean, the national championships is everybody’s number one, so I think we’re all looking forward to that.”

While Tomlinson has hopes of an ACHA National Championship title, he is also pursuing a degree in business with a minor in professional sales. He wants to get into sales after he graduates from FGCU.

The season is not over for Tomlinson as the hockey team sits at the top of the ACHA Southeast standings with a 21-2-1 record as of Jan. 14. They have seven games left in the season before the playoffs start as they vie for their first title since 2019.

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Hrunka
Jeffrey Hrunka, Eagle News Assistant Sports Editor
Jeffrey Hrunka is a junior double majoring in communications and journalism with a concentration in public relations. Jeffrey is from Fort Myers where his interest in sports journalism originated after falling in love with the world of motorsports. When he’s not working for Eagle News, he is usually spending time with friends, watching the New York Giants lose, or chilling in the pool.

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    Melinda EngelmannJan 26, 2024 at 9:50 pm

    Nice article. Thanks.