Shannon Hope was a key member of Cardiff Devils and Great Britain in the 1980s and 1990s, successful times for both teams. A difficult defenceman to get around, he was also adept at carrying the puck into the opposition zone.
Hope first arrived in Britain to play for Peterborough Pirates in the 1984-85 season. Six-foot tall and weighing 189lbs he was one of the most talented players in Division One of the Heineken British League. His uncompromising physicality and ability to read the game was a big factor in the Pirates winning promotion to the Premier Division.
After two years back in Canada as a pilot with a mining company, Cardiff Devils’ coach John Lawless, who had been his teammate on the Pirates, convinced him to join the year-old club for the 1987-88 campaign.
Lawless’s faith in him paid off as the Devils followed the Pirates with promotion to the league’s top level in 1988-89, and over the next nine winters they won three British Championship play-offs, three Premier Division titles and a Superleague crown.
This included a Grand Slam of league, cup and play-offs in 1992-93. At the end of that season, he earned a footnote in hockey history by scoring in the very last Heineken-sponsored game at Wembley Arena, in Cardiff’s 7-4 championship final victory over Humberside Seahawks.
During his 11 years on the blueline, the Devils also picked up three Autumn Cups, while he was selected to three All-Star teams.
On acquiring his British passport in 1992, Shannon made his Great Britain debut in Pool C of the World Championships in Hull. During his early years on the squad, GB gained successive promotions, reaching the elite Pool A in 1994 in Bolzano, Italy.
A natural leader, in 1995 he was appointed team captain, a post he retained until his final appearance in Slovenia in 1998. In all, he was capped 53 times in seven straight World Championships and two Olympic Qualifying competitions.
Before finally hanging up his skates, he helped out his old club Peterborough late in the 1999-2000 campaign when they were in financial difficulties, turning out for expenses only in 11 games and scoring 12 points (six goals).
While his talent as a rushing defenceman shows in his final tally of 659 assists in 560 games for the Devils and the Pirates, his hard-nosed approach to the game is illustrated by his 1,207 minutes in the sin-bin. He also scored 278 goals.
In retirement, he was for a while the marketing manager for the Devils and later their director of hockey. He also ran his own company Shinedog, which designed and marketed a wide range of sports and leisurewear. Later he took a post with Cardiff City Council as a sponsorship manager.
Shannon Hope was born on 25 November 1962 in Peterborough Ontario. His number 35 jersey was retired by the Devils in 1998. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.