BOSTON — The importance of getting the opportunity to play a game inside the confines of Fenway Park isn’t lost on Northeastern University men’s hockey captain Aidan McDonough.
After all, McDonough grew up just down the road in Milton, Mass., and attended plenty of Boston Red Sox games. But getting his first chance to play on a makeshift hockey rink at the venerable ballpark on Jan. 7 when Northeastern faces UConn as part of the Frozen Fenway series, is sure to provide a new memory.
“Growing up around here, going to baseball games at Fenway my whole life, even going to the Bruins game a few years back, it’s been a bucket-list game of mine,” McDonough said at Tuesday’s Hockey East media day at TD Garden. “Super excited to get there and play a game so close to home and so close to our school. It will be a lot of fun.”
McDonough knows what the view from the field will look like after getting some time on the ice when the Boston Bruins hosted the Philadelphia Flyers for 2010 Winter Classic.
“There was open ice and my dad somehow got us out there,” McDonough said, as the Bruins return to Fenway this year for the Jan. 2 Winter Classic to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I was like 10 or 11. Looking forward to going back.”
While it will be a first-time experience for McDonough, it will be Northeastern’s fourth appearance at Fenway, having last done so in 2017. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward will seemingly be a big factor on the ice that day for the Huskies.
A Hockey East First Team All-Star one season ago, McDonough led the conference with 25 goals to go along with 14 assists. But McDonough isn’t resting on that terrific showing as a new campaign begins with him at the forefront of a Huskies squad which was picked to finish first in the conference’s preseason coaches’ poll.
“I think this offseason, similar to the last few, has been really focused on getting stronger, getting faster and working a lot on my skating,” McDonough said. “I think those three things have been stuff that the coaching staff here have harped on me and I’ve put a lot of emphasis on myself to just become a better skater and become faster. I know it’s going to help me take that next step in my game.”
The Northeastern-UConn matchup at Fenway is part of a men’s college hockey doubleheader with UMass and Boston College set to play Jan. 7 as well. Two women’s college hockey games will take place, too, with Boston University taking on Holy Cross and another matchup still to be determined.