McDonald ready for next step in draft journey
CALGARY, AB -- Nova Scotia has been credited with developing two of the most potent offensive threats of late in the National Hockey League.
In a province recognized for producing the likes of Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax, NS product Mason McDonald hopes to one day be tasked with stopping them.
“Those are two pretty top notch hockey players, two of the best in the world,” McDonald said. “To be able to be drafted and from Nova Scotia is quite an honor. To think that I could be playing with or against them some day is pretty cool.”
The 6-foot-4, 178-pound goaltender will take a major step to accomplishing that goal later this month.
McDonald is poised to be selected early at the 2014 NHL Draft on June 27th and 28th in Philadelphia.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “I can’t wait to get down to Philly and hear my name be called. I’ve tried not to think too much about the rankings and stuff right now. It’s really close and I’m really excited.”
The Charlottetown Islanders goaltender is the 2nd ranked North American goaltender behind Boston College’s Thatcher Demko heading into June’s draft.
Whether he sneaks into the first round or not isn’t a priority to the 18-year-old.
“I don’t think about it too much,” McDonald said. “If it happens, it happens. I’m just looking for an opportunity to be picked, whether it’s the first, second or third round. It doesn’t matter. I just hope to be picked in the draft.”
It’s been a long road to Philadelphia for McDonald.
He started the year tending twine for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He was traded to Charlottetown just before the calendar turned to 2014 and was in Calgary shortly thereafter for the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
After his Islanders were unceremoniously swept from the QMJHL Playoffs, McDonald joined Canada’s entry at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. He helped his country to a bronze finish and was named the tournament’s top goaltender in the process.
A trip to the NHL Scouting Combine and another back to Calgary for Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence goaltending camp has capped McDonald’s run to the draft.
It’s tough to put a finger on which has been most memorable for McDonald.
“The Top Prospects Game was a really fun thing to play in with all those guys,” he said. “Playing on Team Orr, it was pretty fun. Of course, the Under-18’s was fun too. To be able to represent Canada with all those guys and win the bronze, that was fun as well.
“I was really happy coming home even though we never won the gold. We got the bronze medal and it was something I’ll never forget. It was such a good time with all those guys.
“Another thing is the Halifax series we played with Charlottetown. To be playing in Halifax at the Metro Centre in front of all my family and friends was pretty awesome. That’s something I’ll also never forget.”
They’re all experiences McDonald admitted he’d never shelf.
Even though collectively they may have exhausted him in his run to the draft.
“I feel like I’ve given it my all,” he said. “I’ve worked hard all season. I’ve done everything I can. I’ve pushed myself and fully committed to hockey. To have my name be called will be really excited.
“I think I’ve done everything I can.”