Happy Release Day to Avon Gale
We are so happy to welcome Avon Gale to Sinfully on the release day of her new book… Breakaway. She has popped in to share a couple of news articles about the two MC’s from Breakaway, Jared and Lane. Go have a nosy and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for your chance to win an e-copy of the book.
Jared and Lane… In the News
The following is an interview with Lane Courtnall that appeared in the Chatham Gazette
For most young hockey players, the dream of being drafted by an NHL team will remain just that -- a dream. For local hockey player Lane Courtnall, however, the dream came true two years ago when he was selected in the fifth round of the NHL draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, after finishing up his last season with the Kingston Frontenacs, he’ll be starting his professional hockey career at last.
“It was a dream come true, yeah,” says the quiet, twenty-year-old Chatham native. “I mean, you know, every kid thinks about being drafted and what round they might go in. I was so happy when they called my name but my mom had to poke me because I’d kind of stopped paying attention. I was surprised it was Tampa that drafted me, because I really thought they’d use their picks on goalies. But it was cool, definitely.”
Courtnall, a natural center noted for his speed on the ice, has been playing hockey since he was old enough to strap on skates. The only child of Michelle and Ron Courtnall, Lane has been playing on development teams in preparation for this moment since he was eleven years old.
“His coaches were always telling us that once he grew into his feet, he’d be a phenomenal player,” Michelle Courtnall says with a smile. “Lane’s just gotten better and better every year, and we’re so proud of him for taking this next step in his career.”
Despite being drafted by the Bolts, Courtnall won’t start the season in Tampa.
“While we’re impressed with Courtnall’s skating and his speed, we think he needs to get a little more experience in professional hockey before putting him on the ice in the majors,” says Tampa’s director of player management, Ben Boyle. “He’s a young player with a great future, and we want to make sure we’re nurturing him to his fullest potential.”
Courtnall will be leaving soon for Jacksonville, Florida, home of the Sea Storm -- the Lightning’s ECHL affiliate. “We’re hoping that a season with the Sea Storm will give Lane the development he needs in both physical and mental conditioning. If everything goes as planned, after this season he’ll be able to move up to Syracuse and play for (Tampa’s AHL affiliate) the Crunch.”
While some young players do make the move from the draft to the majors, it’s far more common for players to go the same route as Courtnall. After being drafted, players return to their major junior team until they’re twenty, and are then sent to play for the team’s minor league affiliate. “The AHL is the development league for the NHL, and the ECHL has slowly been transitioning into a feeder league for the AHL. Guys like Courtnall, especially as young as he is, can expect to spend some time in the minors before getting their shot at the big leagues.”
Even though he’s been drafted, there’s no guarantee that Courtnall will one day take to the ice in Tampa. Many players will spend their entire careers in the minors despite being an NHL draft pick, though that doesn’t seem to bother Courtnall.
“At the end of the day, I’m playing professional hockey,” he says. “That’s what I want to be doing. I dreamed about playing for the Maple Leafs my whole life, but to get there, I gotta start out somewhere.”
That somewhere being Jacksonville, Florida with the talented Sea Storm. When asked if he’s nervous about the transition, Courtnall admits to a certain amount of apprehension. “I’m a little nervous, yeah. I mean, I’ve never been to Florida so I don’t know what to expect, really. I know there are sharks and things, but I don’t think I’ll see any of those playing hockey. Unless it’s like a mascot or something.”
When asked about his hopes for his rookie season, Courtnall says he wants to learn as much as he can and contribute to his team on the ice. He recognizes that it’s an important step in becoming the NHL player he hopes to be one day. And while he says he’s happy to be a part of the Lightning organization, Courtnall -- a lifelong Maple Leafs fan -- hopes to one day play for his hometown team. “Maybe by the time I’m good enough, the Leafs will be better, too,” he says. “Hockey’s a lot more fun to play when you’re winning.”
We Leafs fans will have to take your word for that, Lane.
The following is an interview with Jared Shore that appeared in the “Sports Spotlight” section of the Savannah Chronicle
Today we’re happy to feature Jared Shore on the Sports Spotlight!
Shore, 31, is a veteran ice hockey player who is a center for the Savannah Renegades of the ECHL. His role on the team is what is referred to as an “enforcer”, meaning he’s often found dropping the gloves on behalf of his teammates when the need arises. Shore notes that the term “enforcer” is often mistaken for “goon”, but that isn’t how he views his role on the ice.
“Goons, that term, you know, I think it’s falling out of favor. I mean, I’m a center as well as an enforcer, so I am expected to play and provide offense,” Shore explains. “There’s a real tendency in hockey now to call the fourth line -- that’s the one I’m on -- the ‘energy line’ and I like that. Yeah, I get in fights, but I like to think I can get the team morale up when we need it in other ways, too.”
Despite any such offensive expectations, Shore has -- on multiple occasions, and for various teams -- led the league in penalty minutes.
“Yeah, you know, you get a reputation and it kind of builds from there,” says Shore with a laugh. “The first professional team I played for was the Cincinnati Cyclones, and I ended up in a fight in my very first game. So, you know, that kind of sticks with you.”
Shore knows all about sticking around -- the veteran player has been in the ECHL since he was nineteen. “I was playing hockey on a scholarship at Ferris State, but I ended up leaving the team and signing with the Cyclones since a friend of mine played there, too,” Shore explains. “Once you sign with a professional team, you’re ineligible for the draft. So I don’t know if I would have been drafted out of college or not, but I’m not sorry about the career I’ve had. I’m fortunate to still be playing.”
Shore, who’s played for more than ten teams in his career, is on his third season with the Renegades and says he’s happy playing hockey in the south. “It’s not the most hockey crazy place in the world, no, but it’s a lot of fun,” he says. “The winter is also a lot better than Michigan, which is where I grew up.”
Despite his reputation as the team enforcer, Shore is well-respected throughout the league and quite popular with fans. Earlier in the summer, Shore starred alongside his teammate, Renegades’ hotshot scorer Darcy Leblanc, in a commercial for Hart Chevrolet, where he pretended to beat up high prices while Leblanc shot the puck into the back of a truck. “That commercial,” he says, laughing. “Me and Leblanc have been told to never quit our day jobs and that acting isn’t in our future.”
Speaking of future, what does it hold for a veteran enforcer in a sport where men retire in their thirties? Shore is signed through the end of the year with the Renegades and says he hopes to continue playing as long as he can, and would love to keep playing in Savannah. “Hockey is my whole life,” Shore says. “I really have no idea what I’d do without it.”
The Renegades play at the Savannah Civic Center on the weekends. Tickets are available for all home games.
(Scoring Chances #1)
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 27 November 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
A Scoring Chances Novel
Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He's put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.
Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.
::: Debra’s Review :::
Connect with Avon Gale
Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and when she’s not writing you can find her at the salon, making her clients look and feel fabulous. She never gets tired of people and their stories -- either real or the ones she makes up in her head.
2 E-copies of Breakaway