The holiday season is here and with it comes food, family and…hockey. Fresno Monsters hockey to be exact. Picking up where the Falcons left off, the team’s seventh season in the Valley is just getting started. Leading the Monster’s this year is team captain, Mark Shroyer.
How a boy from Fresno came to love the game of hockey might seem like a mystery at first, but the origin of Shroyer’s passion for the sport comes down to one thing: location. Growing up, his neighbor was Fresno Falcon’s captain Greg Spenrath. Shroyer and his dad were dedicated Falcon’s fans; sometimes they’d arrive home from games just before Spenrath, a memory that sticks with Shroyer today. Sometimes the Falcon’s captain would even help a young Shroyer with his skills when he’d catch him practicing outside.
As captain of the Monsters, Shroyer steps into the role of hockey idol once played by Spenrath. And among the dedicated fans who regularly attend the team’s home games at the Gateway Ice Center, there might just be a young hockey-player-in-the-making looking up to him. But at 20, this is Shroyer’s last season with the team due to the age cap in junior hockey; and Shroyer is thinking about what college he might want to go to for his first experience playing on a team outside of Fresno.
Here, Shroyer talks about the fellow captain who helped him develop his hockey skills as a kid, why an unlikely hockey city like Fresno is a great place to play, and what his plans are once the Monsters’ 2015-16 season comes to an end.