By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter! @andrewlindrothh
Shean Donovan was born on January 22nd, 1975, in Timmins, Ontario, Canada. He began his journey through junior hockey as a 16-year-old forward, first appearing with Kanata Valley Lasers (ON-Jr. A) from 1990 to 1991. The following season, Shean moved on to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) after turning 17-years-old and found a temporary home with the Ottawa 67’s for the next four years. During his second campaign with the team, Shean demonstrated his fantastic skating ability with his grinding style of play, contributing 29 goals and 52 points in 66 contests.
After his strong performance, Shean decided to join the NHL Entry Draft. It would eventually pay off for the winger as he was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the second-round (28th overall) of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. The next two seasons, he continued to develop in the OHL and was one of the leading scorers in the league with an astounding 35 goals and 84 points in just 62 games. He would play only 29 games the following season, notching 22 goals and 41 points before being called up for his first piece of the National Hockey League action.
After failing to register a point in 14 appearances, San Jose sent Shean down to the International Hockey League (IHL) to continue development with their minor-pro affiliate, the Kansas City Blades (IHL). Fast forward to next season, providing a chip on his shoulder, he would only suit up for four games with Kansas City before being called back up to play for San Jose. He appeared in 74 games during the 1995-1996 campaign, notching 13 goals and 21 points. It was yet another similar story for the 1996-1997 season as the forward began the year playing three games with the Kentucky Thoroughblades (AHL). He was then immediately requested at the next level and finished the remainder of the season with a 9-6-15 statline and a minus-18 rating in 73 games.
On November 21st, 1997, his tenure in San Jose comes to an end when the team decides to trade the forward to the Colorado Avalanche along with a first-round pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft (Alex Tanguay), in exchange for Mike Ricci and a second-round pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Shean was apart of Colorado’s system for just under two years as he was once again used as trade bait. On December 8th, 1999, Colorado trades Shean to the Atlanta Thrashers in a one-for-one player trade with Rick Tabaracci.
The 6’3, 215-pound grinder contributed 22 goals and 46 points with 105 PIM in 147 appearances before being placed on waivers by Atlanta. Shean still carried value as a player and was immediately claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 15th, 2002. Almost exactly one year later, on March 11th, 2003, Shean was on the move yet again. This time he was sent to the Calgary Flames for Micki Dupont and Mathias Johansson. During the 2003-2004 campaign, Shean exceeded his offensive production with 18 goals and 42 points with 72 PIM in 81 games.
The next year, the NHL had confirmed a player lockout for the 2004-2005 season, so the forward opted to sign as a free agent to Genese (Swiss). Once the NHL resumed the following season, Shean played the entire year with Calgary before his contract ended the next off-season. The Boston Bruins had their eye on him the season before and signed a two-year deal with Shean. He played an integral part of the Bruins’ fourth-line during that time and produced six goals and 17 points during his short tenure as a Bruin. After that season, Shean and the Bruins decided to part ways, sending the forward to his final destination, the Ottawa Senators, in exchange for Peter Schaefer.
Shean played for the Senators until 2009, but his season was cut short after suffering a significant knee injury and then becoming a healthy scratch shortly after he recovered. The gritty forward had a long road of recovering from his knee injury and becoming the same player he once was but didn’t give up on his dream of continuing to play in the NHL. After his contract with Ottawa expired, Shean signed a professional-try-out (PTO) contract with the Syracuse Crunch in 2010, but a little less than a week later, he decided to walk away on November 7th and hung up the skates for good.
During his 15-year tenure in the NHL, Shean recorded 112-129-241 numbers with 705 PIM in a total of 951 appearances. In 2018, Shean joined the Ottawa Senators organization as a developmental coach and continues to serve the position to this day. From all of us here at Black N’ Gold, we wish Shean Donovan a wonderful 46th birthday!