Lane MacDonald ’89: Olympian, Harvard Hockey Star, Investor

The Captain
NCAA trophy in hand, Harvard captain Lane MacDonald ’88-89 (left) embraces coach Bill Cleary ’56 on the ice following Krayer’s goal. MacDonald would accept the Hobey Baker Award in St. Paul the next day.

If you’re a Harvard hockey fan, pay a visit to the Bright-Landry Hockey Center on any Sunday morning after the renovation crew moves out in the next few months. You may be treated to a reunion game with some of your favorite players, from Ed Krayer ’89-'90 to the Fusco brothers. Don Sweeney ’88 might even make an appearance.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll recognize any of them out on the ice. Well, except maybe one skater.

“We’ve all gotten a bit slower,” says former Crimson forward Andrew Janfaza ’88. Then he pauses.

“Except for Lane.”

Twenty-five years after captaining Harvard to the University’s first NCAA-sanctioned championship in a team sport, B. Lane MacDonald ’88-'89 is still the fastest guy on the rink.

The Crimson’s all-time leading goal scorer has maintained his seemingly effortless skating stride while smoothly transitioning into coaching, investing, and fatherhood. Yet his glide into Harvard Athletics lore was far from easy.

PLAYING THROUGH THE FEAR

As the Star Spangled Banner played, MacDonald felt an overwhelming sense of relief. He was standing on the ice with his Team USA teammates before their first game in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

“I still remember the tingles up and down my spine, kind of feeling, ‘Ok, I made it,’ after all the various issues,” MacDonald says.

MacDonald’s journey to the Olympics started with his Canadian father, Lowell, who played 13 seasons in the NHL before coaching Lane and his brother as prep school players in Milwaukee. Harvard coach Bill Cleary ’56, who had captured gold and silver medals for Team USA as a star forward in 1960 and 1956, also inspired MacDonald.

1989 Hockey
The Harvard men’s hockey team celebrates its first and only NCAA Championship after beating Minnesota, 4-3, on April 1, 1989.

Realizing his lifelong dream, however, was not the only thing that made MacDonald emotional during the national anthem. Three weeks before the Opening Ceremonies, MacDonald had seriously considered withdrawing from Team USA.

The numbness. The loss of vision. The struggle to turn on a shower, button a shirt, or remember a name. MacDonald experienced traumatic migraines and concussion-like symptoms throughout his college career, and the symptoms only became worse as MacDonald deferred his senior year at Harvard to train for the Olympics.

“There were times when he was visibly shaken,” Janfaza recalls, “and next thing I know he’s back on the ice performing at a really high level.”

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