October 20, 2005
Mac Will Be Back

By Joe Gladziszewski

 ECAC Hockey League Notebook

Rensselaer forward Kirk MacDonald announced this week he'll sit out the season and apply for a medical hardship waiver.

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As most followers of the ECAC Hockey League know, Rensselaer senior forward Kirk MacDonald is recovering from testicular cancer that was diagnosed in April of 2005. MacDonald planned to participate in this, his senior season with the Engineers. Due to complications from several surgeries his recovery will take longer than he initially expected and MacDonald will instead attempt to return to the ice and play his senior season in 2006-07.

“Based on the advice of my doctors I will not be playing college hockey this season and will apply for a medical hardship waiver,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald underwent a total of four surgeries and an extended hospital stay since being diagnosed with cancer in the spring. Complications from the initial surgery resulted in additional procedures and a 65-day stay in a Vancouver hospital. His initial surgery to remove the affected testicle took place on April 12. Then, an abdominal surgery on Aug. 2 was particularly difficult on MacDonald and led to additional operations on Aug. 30 and Sept. 24. MacDonald was eventually released from the hospital Oct. 6.

“I’m feeling good, but tired mentally and physically. I’ve lost a lot of weight and am looking forward to starting to eat regular foods,” MacDonald said.

The Victoria, British Columbia native now weighs approximately 155 pounds, and his weight on last season’s roster was listed at 210 pounds. He appreciated that his medical advisors didn’t encourage him to return too quickly in an attempt to play hockey this season.

“It was better that they said that, because I would’ve pushed myself too hard and tried to come back this season,” MacDonald said.

Going through his medical situation has given MacDonald a perspective on how difficult things really are, and an appreciation for things that he might have considered a nuisance. “You might complain about things like getting up at 6 a.m. for practice or a workout, but I could really go for a bag skate right now.”

MacDonald was the Engineers’ leading scorer in 2004-05 with 16 goals and 36 points. He was named as one of three captains on the team for this season, along with Brad Farynuk and Kevin Croxton. He was second with 20 assists in 37 games. At season's end he was named the team's Most Valuable Player and he won the Coach's Award. In 104 career games, MacDonald has 35 goals and 41 assists for 76 points.


Secondary scoring sources – One of the exciting things to follow in the early part of the season is the emergence of so-called second lines. Most teams in the ECACHL are very capable defensively, and can effectively limit scoring opportunities by an opponents’ number-one line. If a team can get production from a supporting line, it takes the pressure off of a marquee group and may force a team to alter its defensive strategy.

One of the best second lines in the league can be found at Colgate, where Kyle Wilson, Marc Fulton, and Ryan Smyth provide excellent backup to the top unit featuring Jon Smyth, Tyler Burton, and Jesse Winchester.

“They’ve played that way from the very beginning of training camp. I put that line together right away and they’ve played very, very strong. Kyle has great offensive instinct and Ryan’s in the best shape of his life, and Marc Fulton when he’s healthy, can shoot the puck like a pro,” Raider coach Don Vaughan said. “It takes a little of the pressure off of Burton’s line and allows us to throw a couple of lines over the wall that we think can create and generate offense.”

Two other second lines have also impressed in the early going. Olivier Bouchard, T.J. Fox, and Josh Coyle at Union are providing plenty of support for the Jonathan Poirier, Scott Seney, and Torren Delforte trio. At Clarkson, big things are expected from Jeff Genovy, Chris D’Alvise, and Brodie Rutherglen to counter the top unit of Shawn Weller, Steve Zalewski, and Shea Guthrie.

Great Weekend Getaway
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Rensselaer at Boston U. (Fri.)
The Engineers travel to Boston University and Agganis Arena for a Friday night non-conference game. It marks the first game played by an ECAC Hockey League team in the new facility at BU, although Harvard practiced there last spring in preparation for the NCAA Tournament.

While You’re There: There’s plenty to do in Boston, including taking in other college hockey games. Stick around the area on Saturday, RPI fans, and check out Boston College at Northeastern or Providence at UMass-Lowell. Then it’s just an easy return trip on the Mass Pike back to Troy in time for Sunday afternoon’s home game against Army.
Stick Salute

Mother Nature, I thank you for one more mild, sunny afternoon in upstate New York that allowed for a round of golf to relax and motivate me to finish writing this notebook. Hopefully, there are a few more, because before long, road trips to the rinks will involve brushing snow off of my car.

Bench Minor

Will the real Colgate please stand up? A team that looked so sharp and dominant in its home opener against highly-regarded UMass-Lowell stumbled to a tie and a loss at Lake Superior State. This weekend is a chance to get back on track with a road game at Army.


Cornell will certainly roll out the red carpet (no pun intended) for the United States Under-18 team this weekend because they're obviously sick of practicing and playing against each other. In the final minute of last week's Red-White Scrimmage, forward Matt Moulson and defenseman Jon Gleed were involved in an on-ice altercation, as reported by the Cornell Daily Sun and Ithaca Journal. Mike Schafer broke up the skirmish and ended the scrimmage immediately, then proceeded to a shootout.

St. Lawrence has been without the services of John Zeiler for the last four games. He was injured in the season-opening game at Wisconsin. Joe Marsh has alternated a few right wingers into Zeiler’s spot on the top line with fellow seniors T.J. Trevelyan and center Mike Zbriger.

Union’s Olivier Bouchard has eight points through the team’s first four games. He has been playing on a line with freshman center T.J. Fox and sophomore right wing Josh Coyle.

Five of the six Ivy League schools take the ice for exhibition games this weekend as Harvard and Dartmouth host McGill, Princeton and Yale host Waterloo, and Cornell hosts the US Under-18s. Brown is idle.

Reid Cashman of Quinnipiac is picking up right where he left off last year, and has a goal and six assists already this year through four games.

• It’s a sophomore slump for Union goaltender and Washington Capitals draft pick Justin Mrazek. He allowed five goals on 14 shots in 20 minutes against Air Force before being pulled, and then let in four goals in a tie against Connecticut on Saturday. He has only stopped 75 percent of the shots fired at him and has a 6.35 goals-against average in two appearances.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.