In a move that came as little surprise to his coaches and teammates, Lane MacDonald '89, the 1989 Hobey Baker winner, announced last week that he would pass up an offer from the Hartford Whalers to sign with a team in Lugano, Switzerland.
But MacDonald who led the Harvard hockey team to its first-ever national championship last winter, did not close the door on the NHL--he left himself with the option of playing in the playoffs or possibly joining the Whalers after his stint in Europe.
A 1988 Olympian, MacDonald was drafted in the third round of the 1985 draft by the Calgary Flames, and had his rights dealt to Hartford in 1988.
The Whalers have kept tabs on MacDonald throughout his college career, and began contract negotiations shortly after he completed his collegiate career in early April.
The decision to turn down the NHL in favor of Europe didn't surprise many of MacDonald's teammates or coaches, who expected him to opt for the fast-skating style of international hockey rather than the more physical NHL. MacDonald traveled to both Sweden and Switzerland in the past month to check out different international programs.
MacDonald, son of former NHL All-Star and Pittsburgh Penguin Lowell MacDonald, has frequently stated that playing in the NHL "is not his main goal." By choosing to play in Europe this winter, MacDonald also retains the option of playing on the 1992 Olympic team.
With 14 members of the Crimson's national champion squad already the property of various NHL teams, there weren't many Harvard names to be bounced around in last week's NHL draft.
In fact, the highest-chosen Harvard player in the 12-round selection process has never worn a Crimson uniform. Ted Drury, the highly-touted recruit out of Fairfield Prep, was taken late in the second round by the Calgary Flames. Drury's second-round selection makes him the highest-drafted player on this year's Crimson squad.
Two freshmen off last year's championship team were also selected. Goalie Allain Roy was nabbed by Winnipeg in Round 4 and defenseman Kevin Sneddon was selected by the L.A. Kings in the final round.
Both Roy and Sneddon were named to the NCAA All-Tournament team in April, and Roy shared Harvard Rookie of the Year honors with goaltending partner Chuckie Hughes.
In the supplemental draft held two days later, 1989-90 Harvard Captain C.J. Young was taken in the first round by the New Jersey Devils Young, who is 21 years old, was not eligible for the regular draft, which is limited to players under 21.
Harvard Hockey Players Drafted By the NHL
Ted Drury (Calgary)