The Colgate Scene
November 2007

Sports
Andy McDonald '00

From giant killer to a giant in his own right

Colgate student-athletes are often referred to as "giant killers." Their ability to slay Goliath-like opponents from much larger schools gives them the courage it takes to succeed not only on the fields of competition, but also in life. was no different.

Also:
Check out a photo essay on McDonald's visit to Hamilton with the Stanley Cup.

In his four years on the hockey squad, McDonald had one of the most accomplished Raider careers ever seen, earning All-America honors and becoming a finalist for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award as a senior.

McDonald made an impact off the ice as well. An international relations major, he received the ECAC merit medal honoring academic scholarship, service to the institution, and athletic achievement, and he is remembered for his genuine personality.

"Andy is one of the most hard-working players I have ever coached," head men's hockey coach said. "He is not only a great hockey player, he is a good person."

In April 2000, one month before his graduation, McDonald signed a professional contract with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. After playing in Cincinnati with Anaheim's AHL affiliate for most of the 2000—2001 season, McDonald began to live out every hockey player's dream when he made it to "the show," playing 16 games with Anaheim that year, and splitting the next season between the NHL and AHL.

McDonald looked like he was on his way to playing his first full year in the NHL in 2002—2003, but he sustained a major concussion midway through the season that caused him to miss the remainder of the campaign, including the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That year, the Ducks went all the way to Game 7 in the finals, but dropped their chance at the cup in a loss to the New Jersey Devils. At the time, many speculated that if McDonald had not been injured, the outcome would have been different.

Like a fine wine, McDonald only gets better with time. The 2006—2007 season proved to be his best yet, both personally and professionally. During the summer of 2006, McDonald married his longtime girlfriend, Gina, a move that proved to be a more than a good-luck charm for his season.

In addition to rocking the regular season, he received the honor of being selected to participate in his first-ever NHL All-Star Game. A contender from the beginning, McDonald did not make it onto the original roster, but entered the game as a stand-in for an injured Henrik Zetterberg. He proved he was more than worthy of being there when he won the fastest skater competition in the SuperSkills Challenge. In the All-Star Game itself, he scored a highlight-reel—worthy goal on world-class goalie Martin Brodeur.

These accomplishments prepared McDonald well for the Stanley Cup playoffs, where he led the Ducks in scoring, with 10 goals. His presence on the ice proved to be invaluable to his team's success.

Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, McDonald said, was one of the most nerve-racking games of his life. While on the ice, he found it hard to think of anything else besides the fact that the Stanley Cup was in the building, but he said he fought through the nerves and scored the first goal of the game. That goal set the tone for his teammates as Anaheim went on to win the game and the coveted cup. When McDonald lifted the cup above his head, he said, the only emotion he had left was pure elation.

After winning the Stanley Cup once, some players never get the honor again. But, McDonald mentioned, he looks at his future in a very down-to-earth way, knowing that Colgate and the people of Hamilton will always be there no matter what happens on the ice.

"I want to play hockey as long as I can," McDonald said. "But if something happens, I have my education at Colgate to back me up, and that's a great thing."

Top of page
Table of contents
<< Previous: ...buildings, institute dedicated Next: Raider Notebook >>