Year to remember: Pickett ends junior hockey career on top

By Gaven Crites

Shane Pickett speaks fondly of his time with the Saskatoon Royals, the 2013 champions of the Prairie Junior Hockey League.
In his fourth and final year of eligibility, the former Meadow Lake resident was an integral part of Saskatoon’s success, tallying 49 points in 35 regular season games and 23 points in 13 playoff games, eventually leading the Royals in knocking off the defending champs and capturing this year’s title.
“It’s unreal,” Pickett said. “To go out on top, I couldn’t have it any other way. It couldn’t be better.”
Well, there was one last shot at the Keystone Cup Western Canadian Junior B Championship in St. Malo, MB last weekend.
“To come out on top of that would be icing on the cake,” he added.
The 21 year old nearly got his wish. The Royals lost 5-2 in the gold-medal game to the Richmond Sockeyes from British Columbia on April 21. Pickett called them a “power house” before the weekend. He assisted on one of the goals in the final game and amassed eight assists and 10 penalty minutes total in six games throughout the tournament.
Going into Keystone, Pickett said the two-week rest period was important in terms of making sure everyone was healthy. The Royals defeated Pilot Butte in five games to capture the PJHL championship and represent Saskatchewan at the Canadian championships.
Saskatoon hosted the Keystone Cup last year and finished fourth. They won bronze in 2009, a year before Pickett joined the team.
“We had a rough year last year,” Pickett added. “We didn’t expect to go and win it by any means. But, we were still happy with fourth place.”
Going into the tournament as league champions felt like night and day compared to last year, Pickett explained.
“The last few games, we’ve really come together,” he said. “(My teammates) make it pretty easy for me. I just have to get them the puck and they have an eye for the back of the net.”
Pickett was playing alongside rookie Brody Jorgensen and the team’s leading scorer Maury Ruether. Pickett is listed at 6’3’’ and 265 lbs. and led the Royals in penalty minutes.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a flashy player by any means, more of a power forward than anything,” he said. “I get in there, get on the body, make stuff happen.”
Named captain of the Royals the last two seasons, Pickett has enjoyed his time with the organization, adding he didn’t approach the game much differently as a veteran player.
“I like to speak out, but I let my play speak out too,” he said. “I’ll miss playing here for sure, but it’s time move on.”
Pickett’s parents now live in Saskatoon, but he still has family in Meadow Lake. He’s not sure exactly about his plans for the future just yet, but he has grown to like living in Saskatoon and has made a lot of friends there.
“I’ve never been much of a city kid,” he said. “It took me a good while to adjust to it, but I enjoy it now.”

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