The Chicago Wildfire have announced that Jack Shey will return as captain for the 2018 season. Shey was unanimously voted by his teammates to return as a captain in 2017 and shows continuity and strength as he leads the team into 2018. When asked what he’s looking forward to in the season ahead, Shey commented, “We want to continue developing some of the younger guys from last year while encouraging everyone to build on the one-team mentality that we established in 2017.”
In just the second game of last season, Shey suffered a grueling thumb injury on his throwing hand while making a diving catch in Detroit. Ever the competitor, he continued playing in the remainder of the game, even corralling three catches on his broken thumb. He was sidelined for most of the season due to the injury, but after undergoing two surgeries and several sessions of physical therapy, he was able to return for the final home games of the season in July.
Despite his health in 2017, Shey had positive memories of the season, making several references to trips on the Wildfire bus. His favorite pit stop, of course, took him back to his Iowa roots; “No idea where it was specifically, but we stopped to get ice cream once and it was glorious.”
Coach Adrian King weighed in on Shey’s return this year as a captain, saying, “It was great to see Jack move into a more vocal leadership role when he was injured. He tends to be a quiet guy, and last year his injury made him unable to demonstrate his leadership through his on-field play, as he had in the past. He was put in a tough position where he had to step up and contribute in other ways, and he knocked it out of the park.” King went on to offer additional praise for Shey’s role, saying, “The team looks up to him. I’m excited to see him combine his voice and his on-field leadership as he returns this year.”
Shey’s background in Ultimate had humble beginnings with pickup games during his senior year of high school in Iowa. When he started college at Northwestern University, he decided to attend the first formal Ultimate practice and was immediately hooked. After a few early seasons of growth he started putting in more work outside of practice by going to the gym, stretching more frequently, getting extra throws in when he could, and playing club for the first time the summer between his junior and senior years. He went on to play for Chicago Machine and began his career with the Wildfire in 2015.
When asked what advice he would offer to young players seeking a future in the AUDL, Shey said, “From a tactical perspective, focus on defensive positioning. We’re constantly looking for defenders who can re-adjust their person-to-person positioning while playing. Given how big the AUDL field is, smart positioning really stands out during scouting and tryouts as we evaluate players. Other than that, have fun and bring as much intensity as you can. We want to see players who can lift the intensity and focus of their teammates.”
Shey will return to the field in Pittsburgh on April 14th leading the Wildfire against the Thunderbirds. The first Wildfire home game will be on April 28th against the Indianapolis AlleyCats.