Shane Hanna was part of the 2010-11 Osoyoos Coyotes team that went on to win the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League championship in its first season.
Born in New Westminster and raised in Salmon Arm, after helping the Coyotes become KIJHL champs at 16, Hanna played in the B.C. Hockey League with the Penticton Vees briefly then his hometown Salmon Arm Silverbacks, followed by a four-year career with Michigan Tech. He’s now playing professional hockey overseas after playing in the American Hockey League and ECHL. In 2020-21, Hanna won the Danish Championship in the Metal Ligaen with Rungstead Seier Capital.
The KIJHL connected with Hanna at his cabin in Big Bar Lake, where he resides between Clinton and 70 Mile.
KIJHL: What was it like to win a league championship in Denmark?
SH: It was awesome. I mean, winning anywhere is fun, but it was a crazy experience. The confetti. It was pretty wild. With COVID, there were no fans in the building. We bussed back six or seven hours and there was a whole crowd of people waiting outside our arena, so it’s pretty cool.
KIJHL: What was that playoff run like? How many games did your team need to win to become champions?
SH: It’s just the three rounds, so 12 games and we did it in 15. We were first place in the league for the season, so we expected to have a good chance at winning. We were up that first series three nothing and then they had won two in a row, so we were a little nervous going into game six, but got it done.
KIJHL: How did you feel that you played during the playoffs?
SH: I felt I had a good playoffs, so it all kind of ran into the season (Hanna was 15th in league scoring with 44 points in 47 games), like a good season, then a good playoffs. (He had seven goals and 15 points in 15 playoff games).
KIJHL: What is the hockey like in Denmark?
SH: The hockey it’s good, fast paced hockey. There’s lots of younger Danish guys that are being developed into higher profiles. There are eight import players, so you get that mix of North American guys playing on the top couple lines and, and then lots of guys from Sweden as well. You kind of just play top line versus top line, so you’re always playing good, competitive hockey. But the sport over there is a lot smaller, it’s a small country so there’s not as much depth to the league. It’s ever growing, that’s for sure.
KIJHL: What type of defenceman have you seen yourself turn into after your college career?
SH: After college, I played a little bit in the ECHL as well as an American League so it’s a different style type and what position I was in the lineup. You still have to play to your strengths, but you also have to conform to whatever team you are on as well. When I was in the American League, you really gotta make sure you’re good on the defensive side of the puck, and then join offence after that. In Denmark, I was allowed to have that offensive role. The coaching staff and owners over there believed in me to do a job and I felt like I had accomplished that.
KIJHL: Do you like how your professional career has been going?
SH: Yeah. Everyone dreams about playing in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup or Olympics and a gold medal, but not everyone can make that. There’s only a certain percentage of the guys who get that opportunity, but it’s working. Now, being able to see so many different places and meet so many different people. I just had different opportunities, and different perspectives on life and it’s nice now to be able to play in that Austrian League – bet-at-home Ice Hockey with HC Pustertal and live in Italy for the next season. You get to see the world and play the game you love. I have no complaints really with that.
KIJHL: When it came to signing with the new team, how long did that take? Was it a quick move?
SH: Yeah, after the season I had one more week in Denmark before I had to come back and then do the quarantine here so I had a couple different places looking to play and just kind of felt like a good spot for me. The coaches were really positive on me and it seemed like a good league to jump into. It didn’t didn’t take too long. I’ve been weighing my options for a while and I kind of knew where I wanted to be.
HC Pustertal’s Luciano Basile on Hanna: “Hanna is an offensively oriented defender who does not neglect the work behind. We have examined the player, he will play an important role in our game.”
KIJHL: What attracted you to the Austrian league and that team specifically?
SH: It’s a higher tiered league than in Denmark, so it was a good stepping stone forward. It seemed like I would be able to be given an opportunity at the start of the season at the very least to kind of show my stuff. It looks like a beautiful place to do stuff outside of hockey, because I lived just outside of Copenhagen for the last two years so I kind of got the city feel and now kind of more get the checkout like a mountainous town and check out a few more cities as well.
Watch the video below as Hanna talks about his time with the Coyotes.