Head coach of Exeter Hawks last two seasons; son of former Lincs’ captain Jeff
By Pat Payton
Shipley was a prominent sports name in St. Marys back in the 1980s.
Jeff Shipley played five seasons with the Jr. ‘B’ Lincolns (1982-87) and two summers with the powerful Creamery Juniors fastball team (1986 and ’87). Jeff was captain of the 1986-87 Lincs’ team.
The Shipley name is again associated with the Lincolns after the GOJHL team hired Ryan Shipley as a new assistant coach last week. He’s the youngest son of Jeff and Nancy Shipley.
Lincs recently advertised for a new assistant after Cole Stewart stepped down after one season, citing work commitments. Shipley, who lives in London, will join returning head coach Trent McClement and assistant Tyler Duarte behind the bench.
Lincolns received 14 applications for the job. Director of hockey operations/GM Greg Smale and McClement interviewed five candidates.
Shipley, 26, spent the last four years with the Exeter Jr. ‘C’ Hawks–two as an assistant coach and the last two as head coach. He guided the 2018-19 Hawks to the provincial semi-finals.
A new challenge
When contacted by the newspaper, Shipley said he’s looking forward to his new hockey opportunity in St. Marys.
“It’s a new challenge for me,” he told the Independent last Thursday. “It’s exciting to see the direction the Lincolns are headed. Greg and Trent and the management staff have done a great job of building a reputation of being a place where young players can come and develop and win hockey games.
“I’m excited to build on that and help try and grow that and add to the development component–especially the young kids who want to play at the next level. I want to use my experience from my playing career to give them some insight into what they should be working on and what coaches at the next level are going to expect. I’m really going to try and give them the tools they need to play at the level they want to.”
In his playing career, Shipley spent three seasons as a defenceman with the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67s (2010-12) and Niagara IceDogs (2012-13). He also played Jr. ‘B’ in London and Leamington.
“Exeter was kind of my first formal coaching job,” he said. “I took one year off after I finished playing and took some time for myself and took vacations during the winter. It’s stuff you normally can’t do when you’re playing. It was nice to have a year off, then I realized that I missed the game and wanted to get back into it.
“The opportunity came up to coach with a good friend of mine, Paul Hopkins, in Exeter. I joined him as an assistant coach. I was four years in Exeter; time has flown by.”
Attention to detail
When it comes to coaching, Shipley puts a lot of importance on attention to detail.
“At the level of hockey that I’ve played at, it’s things that are expected of you,” he says. “Compete level is also something that I really stress. It’s super important. There are a lot of kids who have talent. Every kid in the whole league has talent, and can skate and shoot the puck. Compete level is an area where you can differentiate yourself from others.
“The game has changed a little, even since I played. You want a little offence coming from your defence, and you want some defensive help from your forwards. It’s more of a five-man unit now than traditionally when forwards played forward and defence played defence. It’s really a team game and you have to be a tight-knit group, work hard and play together.”
Smale says it’s great to have Shipley part of the organization.
“Ryan has a serious passion for the game,” the GM says. “I’m really looking forward to the work ethic that he’s going to bring.
“He’s got a lot of different views and a lot of things that can complement Trent and make Trent better. Just having his profile will also help us with recruiting. The kids are going to pay attention to his background because of where he’s been and what he’s done.”
–Ryan Shipley works in commercial mortgages.