ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Long before Hunter McDonald was scoring goals for the Fairport Red Raiders, the ultimate goal was to play in the NHL even if his Mom didn’t agree.
“She remembered when I was standing in the bedroom and I was like, ‘I want to play in the NHL.’”, said McDonald. “She was like, ‘yeah but school is important too.’ Now she’s super proud of me and obviously school is important. But that dream of mine coming true is pretty awesome.”
The Philadelphia Flyers turned those dreams into a reality when they chose him in the 6th round causing everyone in his family to get emotional.
“My Mom actually slipped out a swear word,” said McDonald. “Everyone’s eyes immediately started tearing up.”
That emotion was warranted considering McDonald’s path to get there. He traveled the country on the junior circuit making stops in Texas, Nebraska, and then most recently Chicago. Long and exhausting, but he wouldn’t change the road one bit.
“Just learning to be independent on my own,” said McDonald. “Playing hockey, meeting people, being a leader and being a great teammate.”
The Flyers are getting a mammoth in McDonald as he stands almost 6’4 and 210lbs. The Fairport native said he prides himself on using that size to be physical and he’s not lying. There’s clip all over the internet like this of McDonald dropping the gloves and getting in the mix if he has to.
“I don’t know I just love it,” said McDonald. “When I get on the ice I get to flip a switch and get into game mode and that’s how I play.”
McDonald is the 15th player from Rochester to get drafted to the NHL and the first since 2017.