WILMINGTON, Mass. — Ryan Donato is taking his talents to Harvard for the 2015-16 season, where he’ll play for his Dad, Ted, as a freshman.
The 19-year-old forward, who was selected by the Bruins in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft, said he “can’t wait” to step on the ice in a Crimson uniform.
“Next season, I’m just focusing on being stronger,” Donato said Wednesday on Day 2 of Bruins development camp at Ristuccia Arena. “Getting my legs stronger and building up my stamina so I can play the entire year at a high pace.”
Donato had a busy 2014-15 season. He played for several teams, including a stint with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, where he played very well.
“He seems really relaxed. I think he’s excited to get into college,” Bruins development coach Jay Pandolfo said.
“He still kind of played a high school schedule last year. I think the challenge for him this year playing in college is really going to help him. He’s done a great job — last year he came in and didn’t know what to expect, but he’s gotten in much better shape, so he’s ready to make that next step in college and kind of see where he goes from there.”
Donato is one of many talented players drafted over the last few years to come from Massachusetts. Two of the most recent examples were Boston University forward Jack Eichel and Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin, who were selected Nos. 2 and 5, respectively, in the 2015 NHL Draft.
“Absolutely, those two guys are some of my best friends back home,” Donato said. “I’ve grown up playing with them. Both awesome guys, and I couldn’t be happier for them. They definitely deserve that.
“I think prep school hockey and junior hockey around here is just elevating its level and you can see by the guys they are producing, Hanifin, (Colin) White. All the guys in New England are just taking control of USA Hockey.”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@NHLBruins