Monday, June 23, 2008

Donovan Surprised By 4th Round Selection

From: News
by Robert Przybylo

EDMOND, OKLA. — DU recruit Matt Donovan saw his name scroll across the television screen and did a double take. Was there another Matt Donovan that was just drafted by the New York Islanders in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Draft?

A call from an Islanders representative about 15 minutes later confirmed that Donovan, from Edmond, was the 96th selection late Friday night. Donovan, a 5-11, 185-pound defenseman, was the sole Oklahoman drafted in the seven rounds.

"I was just sitting on the couch and watching everything,” Donovan said. "I'd say the Islanders are a good fit for me, but the truth is any team is. I would have been excited no matter where I ended up.”

Donovan, who turned 18 last month, never thought this was possible so quickly, if at all. But at a camp with Cedar Rapids of the United States Hockey League a couple weeks ago, Donovan turned heads. The Los Angeles Kings, in particular, showed a lot of interest.

This continues a successful trend for Donovan. He was the 10th overall selection by Cedar Rapids last year in the USHL Draft. And before he hits the professional ranks, he'll spend time at an NCAA powerhouse, the University of Denver. Denver won titles in 2004 and 2005.

"Things are just happening so fast right now. It's a blur,” Donovan said. "I tried to act all calm when the Islanders called, but this is so awesome.”

Donovan's next step is attending the Islanders' mini-camp in July and soaking in everything he can before coming back to Oklahoma to train for the rest of the summer.

Nobody knows how difficult it is for an Oklahoman to get drafted more than Matt's father, Larry Donovan. Larry is the head coach of the University of Oklahoma club hockey team.

"I can't really explain it at this point,” Larry Donovan said. "I think it's safe to say I'm the happiest dad in Oklahoma today.”

Matt Donovan said it's really tough for players from Oklahoma to get noticed. But there is one ace in the hole, Mike McEwen. McEwen played 12 seasons in the NHL before coaching the Oklahoma City Blazers for three seasons. His support has led to the growth of Oklahoma youth hockey leagues. McEwen is president of the Oklahoma City Youth Hockey Association.

And it's only fitting Donovan is drafted by the same team where McEwen won three Stanley Cup championships.

"He's always been someone for us younger kids to look up to,” Matt Donovan said. "He would give us the confidence that stuff like this is possible.”

Donovan scored 12 goals with 18 assists in 59 games with Cedar Rapids last season. He also led the team in the plus-minus ratio with a plus-19.


Twister said...

What kind of style/game will Donovan bring to the Pios next year? He sounds like a solid recuit.

dggoddard said...

From all the articles in LetsGoDU he sounds like an intelligent player, with offensive instincts and great passing vision. Supposedly he skates backwards very well but admits that he needs to work on his skating & power.

He was one of the leading defenseman scorers in the USHL last season and will probably have a huge statistical year in the USHL next season.

The fact that he was taken by the Islanders in the 4th Round despite being overlooked by several scouting websites tells you how highly the Isles thought of him.

He will arrive at DU in 2009.