Eddie McDonough is the U18 Team USA Captain. He’s a Pittsburgh, PA native and has been playing the sport he loves since he was 5. Eddie and his team have a serious challenge in front of them, and also a tremendous opportunity as they are the first ever Team USA Under 18 squad to participate in the IBSHF World Championships. We sat down with Eddie to talk about his expectations, his preparation, and what his hopes are for the tournament come June in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Click here to watch footage of Eddie on the rink and talk hockey.
How old were you the first time you played street hockey and give a brief description of the circumstances.
I started playing hockey when I was 5 years old on a small dek know as Brighton Heights, which is now Team Pittsburgh. As I got older I was introduced to travel hockey and started out when I was 8 with an organization called Steel City Slap Shots. When I was 10 I moved over to Team Pittsburgh travel and have been with them ever since.
Who were some of your best influences in this game?
There have been many people in my life who have made me a better ball hockey player. Coaches, friends, and family have always pushed me to be a better player and always gave me the extra motivation to keep playing.
How does it feel to be the first ever captain of the U18 Team USA?
It’s an honor to be named captain of Team USA. There are high expectations as a player representing your country and now they are even higher. I hope I can lead my team vocally and by my play to make sure we are on top at the end of the tournament in June.
I know we are going to be a solid, talented team. Every player was picked for a reason and deserves to be on the team. I believe we’re capable of great things and I’m excited to play with so much talent. I’ve played travel hockey with couple guys for years now. Owen Fink, Mike Stephenson, Drew Albright, and Josh Drawl.
I know that you’ve watched some video of previous World Championships. What do you think of the competition based on what you’ve been told by Coaches Gregory, DeFazio, and HIldreth along with what you’ve seen?
This is my first experience at this level. I’ve never played against any of them before, but they all have high reputations. I’ve watched the other Jr Championships, and the Men’s last few years. All 3 teams are competitive, and usually the top teams in tournament are the ones that are best prepared. It will be an honor and privilege to get the chance to play against the best this June. I know they will all come ready to play us, and I will do my best to have our team ready to play each of them if need be. Just need to lead by example.
What have you been doing to get in shape for the tournament?
Personally I’ve been playing as much hockey as I possibly can. I try to run at the gym when I’m working out to try to condition myself as well as possible.
This will be an international ice sized rink. What are your thoughts on playing on the big rink?
I am very excited to play on a big rink, I think it is going to be a challenge because I’ve played on a smaller rink my whole life and there is so much more running on a big rink. That’s a lot of room for speed to be an advantage and to have a bit more time.
Who is your favorite hockey team?
Pittsburgh Penguins, baby!
What NHL players do you enjoy watching or admire?
Some of my favorite players are Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Pavel Datsyuk.