Bennett settling in with Wenatchee
By Matt Mackinder
Word of mouth is sometimes the best advertising, and Wenatchee Wild forward Shane Bennett leaned on two bits of advice before winding up with the North American Hockey League (NAHL) club this season.
“I knew a couple of guys who played for them last year (Nick Rivera and Joseph Kaszupski), and when considering teams to get in contact with, I asked those guys and others what they thought of Wenatchee,” said Bennett, from Gardena. “Everyone had nothing but good things to say about playing here.
“I ended up going to their camp in Wenatchee and luckily, everything worked out.”
Bennett, 19, has already taken to the Washington town as a second home.
“We have a very supportive fan base here which, in my opinion, makes it one of the best places to play in junior hockey,” Bennett said. “All the guys on the team are really good people and that just adds to the continuity of the group. Everyone here is excited to be here and be a part of the team and the town.”
Bennett’s two older brothers, Beau (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Wade (University of Denver) have played at high levels of the game, but more importantly, both have been enormous influences on his career.
“They started playing hockey before me and, of course, I wanted to be just like them,” Bennett said. “I was introduced to the concept of junior hockey pretty early because my brothers went through it before me.
“That being said, whenever I’ve needed advice both on and off the ice, they have both been supportive and very helpful in my development as a player. They have both had success in the hockey world and being able to get advice from such experienced players and people at a moment’s notice has really been invaluable.
“They have taught me a lot, and I couldn’t ask for better brothers or friends.”
Bennett played youth hockey for LA Hockey Club and the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, and said Sandy Gasseau, Jack Bowkus and Jeff Turcotte are the coaches who have influenced him the most.
“Both organizations were a great place to develop and have fun,” Bennett said.