Jr. Coyotes, Bobcats graduate Shtrom finding early success, enjoying development with WHL’s Tigers
Like many high-end AAA youth players, Oren Shtrom had a decision to make as a teenager – NCAA or Major Junior hockey.
The Gilbert native ultimately decided on the Canadian Hockey League, signing with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers in the summer of 2019 after being a third-round choice (57th overall) of the team in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.
“Oren is an intelligent, crafty forward with great vision and poise,” said Medicine Hat director of player personnel Bobby Fox. “He is creative with the puck and has the ability to find open teammates for scoring chances, as well as being a threat to score himself.”
“We are really excited about Oren,” added Tigers GM-coach Willie Desjardins. “He is a very talented young man, and we think he has a great future.”
Born in Montreal, Shtrom was eligible to be drafted in the WHL since his family relocated to Arizona when he was 11 years old. He played for the Jr. Coyotes and Arizona Bobcats and last season, with the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders in Colorado.
“We moved to Arizona as a family for hockey,” Shtrom told WHL.ca. “I played there for a couple years. I played under Ray Whitney, which was a really big year for me, and that really helped me. He really changed me. He had me at 14, so coming from my 13U year, I maybe wasn’t as good defensively. He definitely taught me a few lessons, sat me a couple times for sure. I definitely learned right away with him that you can’t slide. He just taught me a lot of little tips and tricks that really help offensively, and things to do you maybe wouldn’t get from a normal coach. Him having over 1,000 games and over 1,000 points, not many guys ever have that so to get some insight from him was just really incredible.”
Shtrom’s father, Leeor, was a goaltender who played NCAA Division I hockey for Union College and had pro aspirations before a career-ending hip injury.
“He’s the reason I got into hockey and he’s just helped me with everything,” Shtrom said to the Medicine Hat News. “He knows what it takes to get to a high level, so it’s a huge advantage and he just gives me little tips that maybe the normal kid wouldn’t get.”
This season with Medicine Hat, Shtrom has one assist in three games.
(March 9, 2021)