By Bill Keefe
Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal.
The Greater Boston hockey community is fairly well interwoven. It’s not a large area geographically, so chances are — as players grow up and play on various regional teams, attend camps and participate in summer tournaments — the higher-end players have usually crossed paths somewhere.
At the least, if they don’t know you, they certainly know who you are.
So consider this question posed to Conor McGlynn at the U.S. National Team Development Program Top 40 camp in March by some Bay State compadres: “Are you the other Mass. kid from Hingham? We didn’t know who you were.”
Remember, this is at a camp for what those handing out the invitations consider to be the top 40 1995-born American hockey players. Not exactly a group that goes unnoticed.
But McGlynn had kept a relatively low profile because throughout his school-aged life, he and his family have lived in Oakville, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, the by-product of a business opportunity.
Playing hockey, lacking a Boston accent and possessing a Canadian one, McGlynn fits in north of the border, but he keeps his red-white-and-blue roots strong. They have become even stronger with his recent commitment to Boston College.
“He’s definitely American,” Oakville Rangers midget assistant coach Tony George said. “He wears his USA jersey. He takes a lot of good-natured ribbing from the Canadian kids. He’s always proud of where he’s from. During those Olympics, it’s fun to have him on the team.”
The McGlynns are regularly in Hingham, Mass.; Franklin, Mass.; and Narragansett, R.I., visiting family. While it has been reported that McGlynn is a dual citizen, he is an American citizen only, said his father, Chris McGlynn.
In his past two seasons with the Oakville Rangers AAA Bantam Majors and Midget Minors, the 6-foot-2, 193-pound left-shot center has made some people take notice. He posted nearly-identical seasons of 35 goals and 80 points. Last fall, he was invited to the Collegiate Hockey Summit organized by Paul Kelly (Newton Highlands, Mass.) and College Hockey, Inc. which got the ball rolling on the commitment to Boston College.
In March, McGlynn participated in the top 40 camp. In April, the Sioux City Musketeers selected him in the fourth round, 57th overall, of the USHL Futures Draft. Last month, the Kingston Frontenacs chose him in the sixth round of the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, a relatively high pick for a U.S. player who has already made a college commitment.
This month, he is planning on attending the USA Hockey Select 16 Player Development Camp in Rochester, N.Y., as well as Sioux City Musketeers camp.
Next season, he is slated to fill one of the two roster spots for ’95-born players for the Oakville Blades in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, which is considered Tier 2 or Junior A, a step below major junior, but the highest rung in Canada to preserve NCAA eligibility.
“I coached him in his first year of hockey nine years ago, and I’ve coached him the last two years,” George said. “I’ve seen him grow from a little kid with natural talent to a big horse playing now.”
McGlynn can move and has great playmaking skills, which make him the quarterback of the power play, George said. He likened McGlynn to a skilled player with size like Joe Thornton rather than someone whose size helps make him a great player. Not that McGlynn won’t battle along the wall, but he’s at his best in creating offense.
“He’s growing into his big body,” George said. “You expect him to be a certain kind of player; he’s not there yet. He has all the talent. He’s always outside practicing. He doesn’t ask for anything special like some kids who have some success. He’s been the hardest-working kid in practice for two years.”
Now the watch is on for the tug-of-war that often happens between major junior and NCAA, especially for a player in the Canadian system. McGlynn reports it already has started. He said that teams were informed of his commitment to BC.
“I’ll go to BC 100 percent,” McGlynn said. “Nothing is going to change my mind.”
McGlynn credits former BC captain Matt Price, who spent his rookie pro season in the ECHL with the Las Vegas Wranglers.
“He just had all good things to say about the school, the coaches, the atmosphere,” McGlynn said. “If he could go back, he wouldn’t do anything different. It was great talking to him and made me really happy for my decision.”
Bill Keefe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.