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UMD goaltending coach remembers time with Shepard

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DULUTH, MN. -- On Wednesday, former UMD goaltender Hunter Shepard took to Twitter to announce that he has signed with the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears, primary affiliate of the Washington Capitals.

From the first time Hunter Shepard stepped on the ice in a UMD Bulldog jersey, goalie coach Brant Nicklin knew he wasn't like most.

"There's a few guys that just have that little bit of extra, and Shep (Shepard), I noticed it right away with him and he always did a great job really pushing himself to be the best he possibly can," said Nicklin.

It's that little bit of extra effort that Nicklin said comes to no surprise his continuing his journey in his hockey career.

"It's a testament to him and all the work and effort he has put in over all his years of hockey quite honestly. To be able to get himself to that point and have this opportunity in front of him," added Nicklin.

Nicklin said that his relationship with Shepard is unique and unlike most goaltenders he has worked with while at UMD.

"I've really enjoyed being able to get on him. He's been a goalie that has really liked being pushed in certain ways that maybe I didn't know or think I could with other goalies I've worked with at UMD or in the past," said Nicklin.

Now that he has laced up his skates for the final time at UMD, Nicklin said he will be remembered for simple one word. A winner.

"In every sense of the word, on the ice and everything that he did to accomplish those things he did with that winning attitude and that deposition and I certainly expect that will continue as he moves on to pro hockey," added Nicklin.

Shepard joins co-captain Nick Wolff, Scott Perunovich, Dylan Samberg, and Justin Richards who have also signed pro contracts since the UMD season came to an end.

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Ryan Compeau

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