McDonough Was NCDC’s Youngest Regular Player In 2021-22 And Is A 2023 NHL Draft Prospect
A world-renowned academic profile and an NCAA Hockey National Tournament regular over roughly the last 10 years. What more could a young hockey player with elevated educational aims wish for than a commitment to Harvard University?
That wish came true for 2005-born Duxbury, Mass., native and lifetime Boston Advantage player Will McDonough, who announced his commitment to Harvard late last week.
McDonough played in 17 NCDC games this past year, scoring seven goals and 10 points. He also competed in 2020-21 for the Advantage’s USPHL 16U team during the COVID-shortened season, playing four regular season games and scoring a point in each of their three playoff games at the 2021 Midget championship tournament in York, Pa.
I thought the NCDC was great for me, it helped me really develop my game at that junior level.
This year, along with 25 18U non-league games for the Advantage’s 18U team and his NCDC stint, he also managed to play in 26 USHL games for the Sioux Falls Stampede, registering nine points. He is back in Sioux Falls this year, where we caught up with him after his second day of the 2022-23 school year out there.
“I first heard from Harvard around Jan. 1,” said McDonough. “They like my ability to score goals and also to make plays and bring a heavy and hard style to the game if needed.”
He was also excited with the prospects of mixing an Ivy League education while playing for a program that has made the NCAA tournament six times since 2014 and they made a Frozen Four appearance in 2017 (the Crimson did not compete in the 2020-21 season).
“[The Ivy League education] was something that was super-important for me, and ultimately a big factor in the decision why I chose Harvard,” said McDonough. “I get the best of both worlds with the best education and the best hockey, too. I think Harvard’s program is great, it’s a top program in the country. If you look at it right now, they have 13 active NHL players who went to Harvard. That’s something that I look forward to and one of the reasons why I chose Harvard. It’s just a great program that develops great players.”
It’s still early but many media outlets have already dubbed McDonough an NHL Draft prospect for next year’s selection, with the New England Hockey Journal mentioning him as one of the top five New England-born prospects for 2023. It certainly helped that he represented Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this summer, scoring a goal in his three games played.
No stranger to Harvard or the Boston area, living just south of the city, he was able to take a tour of the campus and Bright Hockey Center.
“I was able to visit the campus last winter, and took a tour of the facilities and it took my breath away,” said McDonough. “Between the hockey facilities and just the campus itself, it was unbelievable and I was really taken away by that.”
McDonough first signed on with Lovell Hockey, the parent company of the Advantage, as a Mite player and never left until the USHL came calling last year.
“I think Lovell Hockey and the Advantage are a great organization and a great place to develop,” said McDonough. “I owe them a big thank you and owe them big-time for their help with my development. Without them, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. What Tim and Joe do there, there are such great things going there, they really do care about every single player, and bring them to their maximum potential. I’ve been playing for them my whole life. This is the first [season] that I won’t be playing for the Advantage since I was 4 or 5 years old.
“To be able to stay in one place my whole life was awesome, and to be able to be watched by the best – Tim Lovell – and have him help me get through the process, they really have done a great job,” McDonough added.
He was also happy with being able to be the youngest regular player in the NCDC in 2021-22, the only ‘05 to play more than two games in the league last year.
“I thought the NCDC was great for me, it helped me really develop my game at that junior level,” said McDonough. “It gave me some confidence going into the USHL at the end of last season. It was great for development, to work on my pace and get that feel for what junior hockey is truly like.”
He has at least two more junior seasons remaining to align with his two remaining high school academic years, but they’ll go fast and he knows there are parts of his game he’d like to elevate in that time before reaching NCAA hockey.
“I want to work on my skating, and just kind of getting my feet faster and quicker so I can get in and out of the corners and out of stop-and-start quicker,” he added.
The USPHL congratulates Will McDonough, his family, the Boston Advantage and Harvard University for his commitment.