2011-01-13 / News

URI’s Sheehan focuses on goals not scored in the rink

By Geoff Campbell

Devin Sheehan Devin Sheehan Devin Sheehan is fast on skates.

That’s why he was chosen for the second time in three years to represent USA Hockey at the University World Games in Erzurum, Turkey, from Jan. 27 to Feb. 6.

Appreciative of the opportunity to skate again for Team USA, Sheehan seems more focused on the potential impact that his first trip to Harbin, China, and this one to Erzurum, will have on his developing understanding of the intricacies of business on a global level.

He is a business-minded future entrepreneur whose passion is meeting the challenge of turning a profit in a post-modern world.

Besides playing four years of division-I hockey, skating twice for USA Hockey at the University World Games, and completing two business-related majors, Sheehan is also working on his real estate license, which he hopes to have by the end of the summer.

Sheehan finished his academic program at the University of Rhode Island before his eligibility was up so he added a second major to his resume. Now completing the requirements of a supply chain management major, Sheehan understands that businesses need to focus more on maximizing efficiency and increasing productivity.

Sheehan drew several parallels between business and sports. He was adamant that successful communication is the key to survive and thrive on a college hockey team or to achieve in business. He added that his life-long commitment to a physically challenging sport such as hockey has provided structure and real lessons in time management.

Sheehan believes that his team experiences have taught him how to adapt to myriad personalities, and that his experiences will open doors because employers will recognize the skill sets inherent in consistently achieving team success.

Growing up in Binghamton, N.Y., Sheehan played hockey since he was 2 years old. His father played before him and the puck didn’t fall far from the circle. Devin’s parents, now Jamestowners, are very proud of his success.

His love of hockey, besides having familial foundations, is based on the fast-paced, hard-hitting nature of the sport.

As a youngster, Sheehan played Bantam, Pee Wee, Midgets and Mites youth hockey, but it was not until he was a sophomore in high school that Sheehan played scholastic hockey, when he joined the Chenango Forks High School hockey team, a perpetual powerhouse in upstate New York.

Sheehan chose division III Elmira College, but after one year transferred to URI, where he has flourished in a division-I club program that has been led by head coach Joe Augustine for the past 22 years. Augustine was USA Hockey’s head coach for the 2009 University Winter Games when Sheehan was chosen the first time.

Sheehan acknowledged that underclassmen are rarely chosen for the World University Games, and in spite of the team’s seventh-place finish – one game short of making the medal rounds – he had a winning experience that went far beyond hockey.

For Sheehan, who at the time was an entrepreneurship major, the trip opened his eyes to a “world of differences,” including language, culture and fundamental economic structure. “[It was] an unbelievable experience,” he said. “China and business go hand in hand.”

While Augustine and USA Hockey have opened doors and enriched his experience, ultimately providing him with a set of highly sought-after skills, Sheehan is also clear in his appreciation of the academic opportunities that he has had at URI.

Seeking a university with a solid business program, URI offered an academic experience that will ultimately allow him to profit from his love of business.

Success is important to Sheehan, and URI hockey is a perennial winner, boasting 21 winning seasons in a row under Augustine, a Boston College Hall-of-Fame defenseman who holds the record for the most career penalty minutes at BC, according to Sheehan.

There was no confusion in Sheehan’s lauding the record; it was simply evidence of Augustine’s belief in the importance of staying after something, hitting it hard and never letting up.

Described on the BC web site as a “stalwart defenseman who combined offensive skills with a daunting physical presence,” it is easy to see how Sheehan has benefited from Augustine’s leadership.

Sheehan was invited to tryouts for this year’s USA Hockey team in Ann Harbor, Mich., during the summer, based on Augustine’s recommendation and Sheehan’s 14 goals and 17 assists last season. And don’t forget his speed.

The international ice rink is bigger and world hockey is more of a finesse game than the board-checking American/Canadian variety, according to Sheehan.

Fast-skating Sheehan was chosen, and following invitation-only tryouts, 100 hopefuls became 22 teammates. Joining him from URI will be teammates Kyle Krannich, Dan Lassik and Alan Dionne.

Perhaps a candidate for pro hockey overseas, Sheehan said, he believes that professional hockey will not be a next stop for him, instead he is planning an early spring job search putting his supply chain major to the test. According to Sheehan, 96 percent of the roughly 60 students who carry the major find work in the field – he can’t wait.

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