FORT WAYNE, IN— For the first ever Komets Spotlight, I chose fan favorite and all around good guy Shawn Szydlowski.
Shawn came to Fort Wayne from Rochester on October 23rd, 2013 and quickly became a fan favorite. He was named the Komets Most Improved Player at the end of the season and lead in the playoffs with six goals, five assists and 11 points.
Before coming back to Fort Wayne for the 2013-14 season, Shawn participated in the Lake Erie AHL training camp. During a game in March of that season, Shawn scored his first pro hat trick, tied a Fort Wayne record of five goals in a game by a single player and tied the ECHL record of three short-handed goals in a game. Shawn was named to the 2014-15 All-ECHL First team. He was named the Komets most valuable player and led the team with 38 goals and 74 points.
The following season, Shawn scored his second hat trick as a Komet by scoring three goals in 5:02. While playing Alaska in March, he logged his first five-assist game. His fifth assist of the game also marked his 200th pro point. He was the ECHL Player of the Month for March and was once again named to the 2015-16 All-ECHL Second team. At the Komets end of season awards ceremony, Shawn was awarded Fort Wayne’s Stonewall Defensive Forward and MVP.
Before the 2016-17 season, Shawn attended the Grand Rapids AHL training camp. In December 2016, he scored his second four-goal game and third hat trick. Shawn was named ECHL All-Star Team captain and starter for the ECHL All-Star Classic. In January 2017, Shawn signed AHL PTO with Cleveland. While with Cleveland, he scored his first AHL goal against Milwaukee on the 24th of January. Once he was released back to the Komets, he ranked third with 25 goals and 66 points. At the end of year awards ceremony, Shawn was named Fort Wayne’s Defensive Forward of the Season. For the third time in his Komets career, Shawn led the Komets with seven assists and nine points.
Shawn’s ECHL career totals prior to the 2017-18 season consists of 238 games, 100 goals, 144 assists, and 244 points. Before the 2017-18 season, he has skated in 363 games, racked up 11 goals, has 169 assists and 280 points.
Currently, Shawn is second in league scoring with 49 points, including 21 goals and 28 assists in 37 games.
Last year, I spoke with Szydlowski, here are a couple of excerpts from that interview:
TSB: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
SS: My biggest accomplishment would be when I signed my NHL contract. That is something I most proud of because I went undrafted and I knew I had one year left to make an impression. And in my final year at Erie, I signed an NHL contract and that is something that I will never forget.
TSB: What is your biggest challenge as a hockey player?
SS: At this point, I think it is about just staying in shape at this point you know. When you get to my age, you have been doing it for a lot of years now; it is all meticulous with all the workouts and preparation that goes into keeping your body feeling good and things like that. It gets harder the older you get so I think my main focus is to keep up the motivation off the ice to keep my body in shape so I can perform the way I want to when I am on the ice.
TSB: What was the best piece of advice that you have been given?
SS: The best advice that I have been given, I think it is a variety of things. I have had a lot of good advice throughout the years, from a lot of different people. I think it is mainly when you get into the more competitive years it really comes down to mental strength and not let things bother you before a game. There is a lot of pressure of getting called up and getting sent down, I think that plays a big role in how guys play, and I think the main thing is just to know that you are there for a reason and that is pretty much it. Just play your game at whatever level you are at. If you keep a level head and keep a good work ethic that is all you need.