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Photo: Mark Newman

By Brendan Savage,

Dominik Shine saw last season what goes into winning a pro hockey championship.

Now he wants to try and be a part of one.

After signing with Grand Rapids as a free agent last spring, Shine will be looking to land a full-time job with the Griffins when training camp opens in September. He took the first step in that direction by attending the Detroit Red Wings development camp this month in Traverse City.

Shine got his first taste of pro hockey last season, appearing in eight regular-season games with the Griffins after signing in Grand Rapids following the completion of his college season at Northern Michigan.

"It was great," Shine said. "Every guy on that team, you could tell they were a team. They all cared about each other and took care of each other. It was great just to be in that environment, to see how hard they all worked together.

"It wasn't just a few guys carrying the team. It was every line from first to fourth that was working hard every day to get better."

Shine, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound left winger who was born in Michigan, had three assists, seven penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating with the Griffins.

He didn't get into a playoff game but was with Grand Rapids during the postseason until the championship series, when the Griffins beat the Syracuse Crunch for their second championship in five seasons.

Shine said just being around the Griffins during their run to the Calder Cup was a valuable experience as he prepares for his first full season as a pro.

"Oh yeah, it was," he said. "They definitely made me feel comfortable. Going into pro hockey, you get a little nervous and things like that. To be there for that long, I don't feel that anymore. When I came here (to the development camp), I felt more confident in my game. I think it's a big help.

"I got to finish my four years at Northern, it was a great place, and then going to Grand Rapids it was obviously a championship team. You could just feel it when I got there. Everyone was close and everyone was working hard. I kind of knew.

"I left just before the final series. I was a black ace and not playing. But I just knew deep down they were going to win. They really were a team."

Shine's offensive production increased during each of his final three years at NMU.

He had 20 goals, 10 assists, 30 PIM and a plus-3 rating as a senior after scoring 15 goals among 30 points the previous season.

Shine's trip to the Red Wings development camp this year marked the third time he's taken part in an NHL prospects camp. He also attended one with the Edmonton Oilers and was at the Red Wings' development camp in 2013.

The development camp is valuable for players like Shine since it's the only opportunity NHL teams get to work with college players on the ice each summer in order to preserve their eligibility.

At age 24, Shine admitted to feeling a bit like an old-timer this year.

"That's one thing I knew coming in," he said. "You're an older guy. For college guys, it's a little different. They still want to see more of you because you're not able to go to the prospects tournament if you want to stay in college. That kind of limits the games you can play.

"I feel a little older but I feel comfortable. A lot of guys like Soup (free agent Brett Supinski, who lockered next to Shine), it's his first camp and things like that so guys who haven't been to camp ask questions and little things.

"I've been to a couple so I know my way around a little bit."

Shine's goal for this season is simple.

"I hope to first of all make the (Griffins) lineup and take a spot in the lineup," he said. "Whatever I get from there is something I'm going to have to earn every day and I'm not going to take anything for granted."