Cape Breton Post

Excited for a new beginning

St. John’s Conor Shortall surprised by trade to Cape Breton Eagles, looking forward to next season

- JEREMY FRASER SPORTS REPORTER jeremy.fraser@cbpost.com @CBPost_Jeremy

SYDNEY — Waking up Tuesday morning, Conor Shortall didn’t expect to receive a phone call telling him he had been traded in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The 18-year-old had just finished an on-ice session and had joined a group of friends for a round of golf at Bally Haly Country Club in his hometown of St. John’s, N.L., when he found out he had been traded to the Cape Breton Eagles.

The five-foot-nine, 189pound defenceman had been part of a trade between the Eagles and Drummondvi­lle Voltigeurs, which saw Cape Breton send the second overall pick in 2021 and forward Jacob Santerre to the Voltigeurs in exchange for the eighth overall pick in 2021, a second-round pick in 2021, and his services.

“I had hopped on the course for the back nine and I think I was two or three holes in when I got the call saying I was an Eagle,” laughed Shortall.

“It came as a bit of surprise, but Sydney is a lot closer to Newfoundla­nd than Drummondvi­lle, and I know some Newfoundla­nders who have played for the team.”

Shortall, who trains with former Eagle Mark Rumsey during the offseason, spoke to the 20-year-old about his short-lived time in Sydney on Wednesday.

“He wasn’t there for too long, but he told me he enjoyed it and loved playing for Cape Breton,” said Shortall. “Everyone I’ve talked to about Cape Breton tells me it’s similar to Newfoundla­nd and that’s a good thing for me.”

Shortall played his minor hockey in St. John’s, and suited up for the city’s under15 ‘AAA’ team for two seasons from 2016 to 2018.

He later joined the East Coast Blizzard of the Newfoundla­nd and Labrador Under-18 Major Hockey League, posting three goals and eight points. He also added a goal and two points in seven playoff games during the 2018-19 season.

In June 2019, Shortall was drafted by the Voltigeurs in the fifth-round, No. 78 overall, at the QMJHL Entry Draft.

Shortall, who considers himself to be a blue-collar blueliner, played the 201920 season in prep school at Selects Academy in Connecticu­t, posting 13 goals and 43 points in 57 games with the under-16 ‘AAA’ program.

Last season, Shortall made the jump to Drummondvi­lle, appearing in a COVID19-shortened 34 games, posting two goals and 11 points with a -1 rating. He also appeared in three playoff games and had two penalty minutes.

“I believe I had a strong year,” said Shortall, noting there were some ups and downs like every junior player goes through.

“It was a very difficult year with so many stoppages and the fact we had to live out of a hotel for weeks at a time to play, but I think overall I had a good year.”

Shortall, who is focused on improving his skating this offseason, joins a fairly young Eagles defence core, featuring 2019 first-round pick Jérémy Langlois, Jacob Squires, François-James Buteau, and Zach Welsh.

“It’s a great feeling joining a young defence core — hopefully I’ll go there and will stick around with some of those guys for a couple of years,” said Shortall.

“I don’t know them personally, but I know of them from previous years and they’re all really good defencemen and I’m excited to play and meet them.”

Shortall will remain in Newfoundla­nd this summer, preparing for the 2021-22 season. He’ll report to Sydney when the team opens training camp in August.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Defenceman Conor Shortall was acquired by the Cape Breton Eagles in a trade with the Drummondvi­lle Voltigeurs on Wednesday. The St. John’s, N.L., product is looking forward to joining the team for the 2021-22 season.
CONTRIBUTE­D Defenceman Conor Shortall was acquired by the Cape Breton Eagles in a trade with the Drummondvi­lle Voltigeurs on Wednesday. The St. John’s, N.L., product is looking forward to joining the team for the 2021-22 season.

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