Check-In: Shai Buium
Sioux City Musketeers’ defenseman Shai Buium was clear he wanted to make an impact at the Biosteel All-American Game.
“I just want to play the best I can and just showcase my abilities,” Buium said prior to the game. “And obviously win the hockey game. It is going to be a good experience and I am really looking forward to it.”
Despite Team White, the USHL all-stars, suffering a 7-1 loss to Team Blue, the USNTDP, the rearguard did just that, earning a spot as one of five standouts from the game from FCHockey’s scouts.
“Buium was a very pleasant surprise for me in this game,” FCHockey scout Derek Neumeier started. “There wasn’t one highlight-reel play, but rather a steady stream of subtle, effective ones. His pacing was great, frequently using his skating and quick awareness to open up space and get involved in the play. He also made some nice plays with the puck and was effective at breaking up opposing possession. Those little plays add up in a huge way in the NHL.”
Buium, who stands at six-foot-three, 214 pounds, answered questions from reporters prior to the game, including some on his intriguing family background.
“Both my parents are from Israel,” Shai shared. “I try to go back there almost every other year, maybe every year now. I love that place. They are from Ashdod and Tel Aviv.”
With the fascinating background Buium comes from, his teammates love learning about his Jewish heritage, “Everyone just kind of finds it interesting and always asks me questions about it, and I explain it to them, and yeah they kind of just find it interesting.”
While Shai’s family comes from Israel, he grew up in San Diego, California and eventually moved to Los Angeles to play hockey for the LA Jr. Kings. In the last few years, California has produced a number of elite Americans that have gone on to play at the highest-level hockey tournaments, like the World Juniors.
“It’s pretty cool to see,” Buium started. “Just growing up in California, being able to make it far in hockey and play in the World Junior tournament. It’s pretty impressive. I know Brendan Brisson and his little brother Jordie so it’s pretty cool.”
The University of Denver commit also keeps in touch with fellow Californians, now current players on the USNTDP Team, such as Aidan Hreschuk, Andre Gasseau, and Ty Murchison. All three played together on the LA Jr. Kings.
“We play roller hockey in the summers a lot together,” he said. “We have a good roller hockey team we put together. So I play against Gasseau, Hreschuk, and Murchison, and we all play together in that roller hockey tournament. So that’s always fun.”
July 23-24 will be big dates for Buium to markdown, as he hopes to be another successful Californian getting drafted to the NHL.
“I think the strengths of my game are my hockey IQ, my ability to play with the puck and away from the puck,” Buium started on scouting his own game. “I feel I have a good first pass, I play pretty good in the defensive zone, I like playing against the top players, I enjoy it. I think I need to work on my skating more and just get faster and stronger, along with my shot.
“I like watching Nate Schmidt. He’s a good player, I feel we do similar things, so I like to watch him a lot”.
Buium has had a successful season in the USHL and USHS in 2020-21. With the Musketeers, he’s collected 23 points (four goals, 19 assists) in 46 games. With Shattuck St. Mary’s U18 squad, he’s added another 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 17 games.