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Kheredine Idessane reports
"Shields is being tipped as the best player Scotland has ever produced"
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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 18:45 GMT
Young Scot's NHL dream
Colin Shields has been playing ice hockey since he was two
Colin Shields has been playing ice hockey since he was two
Scotland's fastest rising ice hockey star is about to head for college in the USA after achieving what only one British player has managed before him.

Colin Shields from East Kilbride has made it onto the draft for one of the best leagues in the world, America's National Hockey League.

He has been picked up by top side, the Philadelphia Flyers, and is already being tipped as the best player Scotland has ever produced.

Having spent the last six years playing at junior level in Canada and the States, his ambition is to turn professional after graduating.

It's like signing for a Rangers or a Manchester United
  Colin Shields, ice hockey player
The 20-year-old has been playing ice hockey since he was two years old.

With a father who is the former coach of Scots ice hockey team, the Paisley Pirates, and a mother who was a figure skater, his progress was perhaps an inevitability.

His talents have earned him the distinction of being only the second British player, after Tony Hand, to make it onto the NHL draft, the system where the top teams get the pick of the up-and-coming young players.

The Philadelphia Flyers will have first option on Shields when he finishes university.

He is about to start a four-year scholarship at the University of Maine, studying business, and he realises the scale of what he has achieved thus far.

Shields is about to start college
Shields is about to start college
"The Philadelphia Flyers were third in the NHL last year and they're always in the top five or six, so it's like a Rangers or a Manchester United," he said.

"It's really exciting to be picked up by a team like the Flyers."

The current coach of the Paisley Pirates, Doug Marsden, is convinced Shields has what it takes to make a successful career in the sport.

Marsden believes he has the potential to become the best player Scotland has ever produced.

"I think Colin can be the best ice hockey player that's ever come out of this country," said Marsden.

"I know Tony Hand's been the benchmark, but new generations create new people and this is the next step."

With the top players in the US earning around $1m, the incentive for success is clear.

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