New England Hockey Journal - August 2016 - 6
b's camper DonaTo
'I'vE woRkEd HARd All offsEAson
And I wAnt tHEm to notIcE tHAt'
By Ty Anderson
n tHE DOnAtO HOUSE, HAnGS A PICtURE.
Long before Ted Donato (Dedham, Mass.) hung up
his skates in 2004 to become the head coach at Harvard University. Long before his son, Ryan Donato, was
drafted by the Boston Bruins - the same team that had
drafted him 27 years earlier - with the 56th overall pick in
2014. It's a picture of Ryan, just a toddler, huddled on the Bruins bench between then-babyfaced, budding superstars Sergei
Samsonov and Joe Thornton. In a polo bearing the spoked
'B,' Ryan has a helmet on his head, Thornton's TPS Louisville
gloves draped on his tiny hands, and a stick gripped in his left.
Samsonov and Thornton smile
for the camera, but Ryan's eyes
remain fixated on the sight of National Hockey League ice in front
of him. It's where his eyes have remained locked for the past 18 years,
too, as Ryan, the oldest of four Donato children, ventures into the
family business as a hockey player.
"We grew up in an academics-first
family. But we just loved sports and
we loved to compete. Someone asked
me, 'Where did your father play college hockey?' But basically my father never put on a pair of skates,"
Dan Donato, Ryan's uncle, a Boston
University alum and head coach at
Dexter Southfield (Brookline, Mass.),
said. "He just instilled in us to be a
good kid, work hard and listen to the
coach. It's a really simple philosophy
that was great to abide by. The funny
story is we had a babysitter when we
were younger, and the poor babysitter probably didn't wanna deal with
us five animals running around, so he
took us to the rink, we rented skates,
and that's where it started for us. We
got on the ice and fell in love with it.
It wasn't like we had a father that told
us how we should hold a hockey stick.
He was just a great father, and it was
fun. The way sports should be. And I
think Ryan has grown up with that."
A familiar last name to fans of
hockey at all levels in Boston, and
in his third trip to the organization's
annual development camp held in
the chilly confines of Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., Donato
was honest about the goals in front
of him as he skated in front of the
"I want the coaches to see that
I've changed my game a lot," Donato, a Scituate, Mass., native, said. "I
gained a lot of good weight; muscle,
not fat. I've worked hard all offseason and I want them to notice that."
For Ryan, it's the journey of developing into more than a familiar name.
A journey that took its first big steps
in middle school, when the family first
noticed that there was something special about his game.
6 NEw ENGLAND HOCKEY JOURNAL August 2016
'I actually think
he's going to be
even better at
the next level in
the pros. at times
in big games,
ryan didn't shy
away from it. He
wanted to score
the big goal, he
wanted to be out
there all the time.
... I think when
he gets to the
level, he's going
to want to do it,
but he's going to
have guys in front
of him like patrice
that when they
get the puck,
"He's probably certainly had some pressure on him with his dad playing in the NHL,
but I think Teddy has instilled in him that
you work really hard," Dan said of Ryan. "He
is a genuine kid, and I got to know another
side of him, and I'd love to tell you that (Ted-
dy and I) did this and that for Ryan's hockey
career, but he came in with a pretty high level
of ability and we were able to develop certain
parts of it.
"But he's gifted. The way he sees the ice and
the way he competes were already God-given."
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of New England Hockey Journal - August 2016
NEHJ August 2016
Our Starting Lineup
Around the Region
Bruins Beat: Ryan Donato
NHL New England
NHL New England Digital Directory
BONUS: Comm Ave Charity Classic gallery
NEHJ Skate Guide: Brand Loyalty
NEHJ Skate Guide: Sharpening 101
NEHJ Skate Guide: Buyer's Guide
Prep/High School Guide
NEHJ TV EPISODES
The Goalie Guru
The Hockey Mom
Summer Camp Directory
Hangin' Out With …
New England Hockey Journal - August 2016
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