Josh Shalla is a high-scoring forward for the Indy Fuel. Shalla, 25, originally hails from Ontario, Canada and is in his fifth season of pro hockey. He was drafted in the fourth round, 94th overall, by the NHL Nashville Predators in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Shalla came to the Fuel early this season via trade with the Wheeling Nailers and has been a dynamic scoring threat ever since. At 6’1″ and 205 pounds, he possesses the size to outmuscle smaller defenders while still displaying smooth stick handling and great scoring ability. He has played 46 games for the Fuel since the trade and has produced almost point-per-game play with 41 points from 22 goals and 19 assists. Including his time early in the season with Wheeling, Shalla has scored 32 goals this year–tied for eighth in all of the ECHL. He was kind enough to answer some questions for us here at Blue HQ and we hope you enjoy getting to know one of the best goal scorers to play for the Fuel in team history.
BHQ: How old were you when you started playing hockey and how did you first get involved in the sport?
JS: On my third birthday my dad got me a pair of skates and a stick and it all started right there.
BHQ: If you would, talk a little about growing up in Ontario and the process of playing junior hockey and your experience navigating juniors.
JS: Growing up in Ontario is great for hockey. Pretty much every kid plays hockey or loves the sport, it’s everywhere. The OHL is a dream for every young kid that plays. We grow up watching it so it becomes our mini version of the NHL. Playing in the OHL is very much like pro hockey from how you are treated and how organizations are ran. Plus as a player you get to compete with the top players from all around.
BHQ: Was there a specific moment where you knew you were going to play professional hockey?
JS: The year I got drafted. I had a big year and put up some points and I felt I knew I could take my game to the next level.
BHQ: What accomplishments are you most proud of during your hockey career?
JS: Getting drafted to the Nashville Predators is my biggest accomplishment in hockey.
BHQ: With ECHL teams providing housing for their players, does that encourage the team to spend time off together? What do you all do in your down time?
JS: We all live in the same apartment complex so we all hangout pretty much everyday. We watch a lot of TV, play games or cards and love to golf if the weather lets us.
BHQ: Which players, past or present, do you enjoy watching, and what do you try to take from their technique to add to your own? How would you describe your playing style?
JS: I love watching Connor McDavid play, he’s so fast and skilled and always does something that makes you wish you could pull that off. I would love to have that speed he can play with. My playing style is offensive. I like to score goals and have the puck on my stick so I can make plays.
BHQ: What are some of the best coaching tips you have received in your career, and what would you pass on to younger players?
JS: I guess it would be to just play to your strengths. Do what you do best.
BHQ: What are some goals you have set for yourself, both long term and short term? Where do you see yourself in five years?
JS: I want to win a championship. I came close one year with Cincy and it was a blast. Five years from now I’m not to sure what I’ll be up to; I kind of just take one day at a time.
BHQ: What are some of the challenges and rewards of being an alternate captain?
JS: The biggest challenge is to be positive sometimes when things are going wrong. The guys look up to the older players and you just gotta be there to help them and the team. I wouldn’t say there’s that many rewards but the pride you take by being a leader.
BHQ: What do you enjoy about playing for the Fuel?
JS: I love playing here. The city, the fans, our rink. Everything is great here. I’d say it’s one of the best spots to be in the league.
BHQ: Finally, for fun, give us a little insight on the team. Who is the practical joker? What are some good times the team has had this year, that the fans may not have seen?
JS: I’d have to say Levine is the joker, I think he’s hilarious. And away from the rink just when all the boys get together it’s usually a good time.
Blue HQ would like to thank Josh for his time and wish him the absolute best as the Fuel wrap up their season this weekend with a home-and-home series against Toledo beginning Friday at the Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum.