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Men's Hockey Star Ryan Donato to Leave for NHL's Boston Bruins

Thanks for the Memories
Junior Ryan Donato caps off a stellar career with the Crimson, having led the team in points, goals, and shots on goal in the 2017-18 season.

UPDATED: March 18, 2018, at 10:21 p.m.

Junior Ryan Donato of the Harvard men’s hockey team put an end to discussions about his career on Sunday night, announcing that he will be departing from the Crimson to join the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League. Donato was a Bruins draft pick (second round, 56th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

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"While I am beyond thrilled for this next opportunity, it comes with a bittersweet feeling, as my time as a student-athlete at Harvard comes to a close,” said Donato in a press release. “I am so thankful for every day I have spent at Harvard and the remarkable people I have met along the way, from the classroom, to the ice, and beyond. It has truly been a privilege to wear the Harvard jersey and represent my school alongside such incredible teammates and coaches.”

Done for Now
Though Donato has a family connection with Harvard hockey, he's similarly tied to the Bruins. His father, Crimson coach Ted Donato '91, was also a Bruin, and the Scituate, Mass. native can now play for his hometown team.
Donato’s third college season was his coming-out party on the national stage. The Hobey Baker finalist led Harvard in points this season (29 GP, 26–17—43), and his 26 goals were good for 4th in the country. He led the NCAA in goals per game (0.90) at the end of the regular season, and finishes his career with the Crimson above a point per game (97 career GP, 60–44—104). He was also named 2017-18 ECAC Player of the Year, and nabbed the Ivy League Player of the Year in last year’s Frozen Four campaign.

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Harvard finished its season with an overtime loss on Friday in the ECAC semifinals to No. 10/8 Clarkson. The Crimson’s fourth consecutive trip to Lake Placid, N.Y., was in no small part due to Donato’s dynamic offensive play. In Game 3 of the best-of-three quarterfinal series versus Dartmouth, Harvard came away with a 4-2 win powered by a hat trick from Donato. That matchup marked the third time the junior notched three goals in a game this season and gave him his fifth career hat trick.

O Say, Can You See?
Ryan Donato made waves in his Olympic debut, and left Pyeongchang tied for the team lead in goals (5) and leading the team in points (6).
Donato didn’t just shine on college ice. The junior joined Team USA at the Winter Olympics last month as one of four NCAA players selected to the final roster. In Pyeongchang, he paced the squad in points (5 GP, 5–1—6) and notched more goals than his father, Harvard head coach Ted Donato ’91, did during his stint at the Games.

Donato, a sociology concentrator, said that he remains “fully dedicated” to completing his degree. Aside from his education, the decision to depart was certainly complicated by the fact that his bench boss with the Crimson was his father. Ryan’s younger brother, freshman Jack Donato, is also a forward on the Harvard team.

For now, though, the books and the Crimson will both take a back seat. Donato’s entry-level contract kicks in just in time for the Bruins’ Monday night tilt against the Columbus Blue Jackets. After three years of Beanpot tournaments, Donato will skate under the bright lights of TD Garden again—this time, sporting the black and gold B.

—Staff writer Spencer R. Morris can be reached at spencer.morris@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMorrisTHC.

—Staff writer Stuti R. Telidevara can be reached at stuti.telidevara@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @StutiTelidevara.

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