Local hockey player reflects on opportunity to play at collegiate Division I level

By: Mark Vest | Royal Oak Review | Published November 6, 2013

 Pictured, right, is Western Michigan University hockey player Shane Berschbach. Berschbach, of Clawson, has 83 career points for the Broncos.

Pictured, right, is Western Michigan University hockey player Shane Berschbach. Berschbach, of Clawson, has 83 career points for the Broncos.

Photo courtesy of Western Michigan University

As good as it is to dream big, it’s even better when a dream comes true.

Shane Berschbach, who attended Royal Oak High School, wanted the opportunity to play hockey at the college level, and do so in his home state, and he was given the chance to do both when he received an opportunity to play for Western Michigan University.

Berschbach is now in his senior season with Western and has enjoyed suiting up for the Broncos.

“It’s been a great experience, so far,” he said. “I’ve had the fortune of playing for two good coaches, with (former Western head coach) Jeff Blashill and now Andy Murray. I’ve learned a lot here since I’ve gotten out of junior hockey. I’ve grown a lot as a person, both on and off the ice.

“Growing up, playing competitive hockey for Little Caesars had me (thinking) I could pursue my dream to go on to play juniors and then college. When I got in juniors in Indiana, that’s where I started playing for Jeff Blashill (who is now the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins), and he figured it would be a good fit for me to come with him to Western, so he brought me along there. It’s been a blessing”

Berschbach, who at press time has 83 career points, counts beating the University of Michigan in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) championship game his sophomore season as his favorite memory playing for Western thus far. And as good as that may have felt, there is an even loftier ambition he would like to achieve before leaving Western’s program.

“We’re trying to pursue a national championship here — bring one to the university for the first time,” he said. “We brought back the CCHA title a couple years ago. … I think second time — pretty special. That would be an honor, especially to be a part of history. Hopefully, it works out for us, and we can celebrate that.”

Along with support he has received from his family, Berschbach, whose hometown is Clawson, credits Blashill and Murray for the assistance they have given. The kind of support he has been given also likely contributed to his being named as an assistant captain for Western, which he referred to as a “good honor.”

For as nice of an accomplishment as being named as an assistant captain is, attaining a role like that may be hard to come by without learning some valuable lessons along the way.

“Learn from your mistakes, keep pursuing your goals, and you can pretty much do anything you set your mind to,” Berschbach said of lessons he has learned.

While playing college hockey may have been a dream come true, it doesn’t mean Berschbach has stopped dreaming. Once he is through skating for Western, he would like the opportunity to play at the professional level.

“I’d like to go overseas — any league over there that could be a potential place,” he said. “Either over there, or even start off maybe here in the East Coast (Hockey) League, maybe move up to the AHL (American Hockey League), or something like that. It’s awesome just thinking I could play the sport I love after college — make a living. It is really a dream come true to say you could actually pursue it.”

Berschbach is majoring in communications.