Greg McDonald has coached hockey for more than a decade. His coaching experience was exclusively at the club level until this season when he was asked to take the reins at Council Rock North.
McDonald is no stranger to the high-school game; he skated for Father Judge in the mid-1990s. He took on the position at Council Rock North at the request of a friend. The Indians won three Flyers Cup titles in the late 1980s and early ‘90s but didn’t field a varsity team last season
McDonald was not starting from scratch but his team is less experienced than many of its Class AA opponents in the SHSHL. The Indians completed their pre-holiday schedule Wednesday night with a 6-3 over Bensalem to move to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in divisional play.
When we caught up with him a while back, McDonald was quick to point out he and his players were enjoying the experience of reenergizing their school’s hockey program.
It’s a great group of kids,” he said. “Practices are good and well attended. They’re excited to be out there. It’s a whole new group for me. I’m still kind of getting familiar with them. But it is fun. Practices are high tempo. There’s a lot of talent out there. It’s a big range of talent out there. But, they genuinely enjoy each other and they’re on the ice and they love it so it’s good, its good all around.”
When the SHSHL was formed in the mid-1970s, club hockey had minimal impact compared to the high-school game. While that dynamic has changed in the years since, McDonald embraces the unique qualities of high-school hockey.”
“(Club hockey) is where the focus is,” he said, “but I do think there’s something to be said about school spirit and everybody being at the same school and talking about the game together and the student body here.
I think it’s a good environment the kids honestly, and I think it brings something club hockey doesn’t.”
McDonald reflects on how his high-school hockey career impacted and continues to impact his life.
“I graduated from Father Judge in 1995,” he said. “I didn’t start playing hockey until I was a freshman in high school. Honestly those years, in the locker room, those bonds, that’s what you take with you through life.
“For me I’m really happy to still be around hockey in a competitive light and with greats kids. I couldn’t ask for more honestly. I’m really happy about it.”