When the 2015-2016 Norfolk Admirals take the ice against the Wheeling Nailers in October, fans will be scurrying trying to put new names with new faces. Norfolk’s faithfuls will recognize one name and that is 24-year-old Reading, Massachusetts native Steven Whitney who donned an AHL Admirals sweater from 2013 until the end of the 2014 season.
Last season the Boston College alumnus played with the Florida Everblades in the ECHL. Whitney gave his take on how things went during his tenure with the Everblades, “I had a good experience with the Everblades. We had a very good team. You get a lot more ice time because of the tenth forward rule. You have to be in shape to be rolling three lines. They’re big and they’re strong like they are in every pro league.”
Like every professional athlete the right-handed shot works to better himself in the offseason. Steven shared what he has improved on since last season, “I’ve been working on my endurance, so every shift I can go one hundred percent and stay at top speed the whole game. That’s one thing I’ve been focusing on this summer and trying to put the puck in the net when I get a chance, shooting and finishing chances and things like that around the net.”
Speed is one asset in Whitney’s arsenal that cannot be overlooked. “I try to incorporate that into my game as a strength, rather it be on the backcheck or beating somebody to the net. I’ll most definitely will try to use that to my advantage with Norfolk during the upcoming season,” noted the 1991 born forward.
After the Norfolk and Anaheim split, the Edmonton Oilers ECHL affiliate found new digs in Norfolk, Virginia. Although Steven is on an ECHL contract this season, he commented on what it means to him to be in the Oilers pipeline, “It means a lot. It’s an honor anytime you get a chance to move up in an organization like that, which we all do at any level. It’s all an opportunity and that’s all you can ask for is an opportunity. I’m just hoping to show up and execute my game and hopefully they like what they see and give me more opportunities as I go.”
Before reporting to Norfolk, Whitney has a stop to make first and that is in Bakersfield, California where he has a tryout with the Admirals AHL affiliate, the Condors, where he hopes to leave a lasting impression. “I’m going to Bakersfield on the 26th to their camp. Whenever that ends or whenever they send me down to Norfolk that’s when I’ll be in town,” battered the third-year pro.
When Whitney and his Norfolk teammates report this year, they will be under the tutelage of first-year pro Head Coach Eric Veilleux who has a winning history in the QMJHL and served as an Admirals Assistant Coach last year in the American League. “I did talk with him this summer. He’s definitely excited about the upcoming season and he’s had a lot of experience as a Head Coach in Major Junior and as an Assistant last year. This year is his first as a Head Coach in professional, but I’m looking forward to it. He seems like a good coach,” noted Whitney on his new Coach.
When the ECHL Admirals hit the ice in October, returning fans will he happy to see a familiar face in Steven Whitney.