|Dan O’Donoghue of Port Jefferson Station plays hard at the New York Islanders camp, above and below. Photos by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images (click for larger version)|
August 03, 2011 | 04:37 PMAfter graduating from Comsewogue High School in 2008 and completing his freshman year at Pennsylvania's Mercyhurst College, ice hockey center Dan O'Donoghue (6-4, 196) had the chance of a lifetime. He received his first invitation to attend a professional hockey camp. He was one of 40 players selected to exhibit their skills at the New York Islanders camp from July 11 to 16. All of the participants stayed at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale.
"It was a great experience and I was grateful for the invite," said O'Donoghue. "It was nice."
O'Donoghue's adviser, Jay See, was in communication with the Islanders camp. The invitation was extended to O'Donoghue right after the NHL draft. "I didn't get selected, but they still extended an invite to me," he said.
O'Donoghue scored one goal during a game at camp. He also netted the puck once during a skills competition that week. "That was cool," he said. "That was awesome."
Throughout high school, O'Donoghue played for a club team at Comsewogue. "I didn't win any awards because it wasn't really recognized," he said.
O'Donoghue totaled 17 goals and 19 assists as a member of the New York Bobcats junior hockey team the year after graduating high school. "I did really well," he said.
The following season, O'Donoghue was drafted to play for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League. "The junior hockey team is a big thing for them," he said.
During his time playing for the Buccaneers, O'Donoghue's assistant coach was the father of New Jersey Devils All-Star Zach Parise. "If you are lucky enough to get a coach like that, you take everything that he tells you and try to be a better player," O'Donoghue said.
O'Donoghue played in all 36 games in his first year of action at Mercyhurst College. He scored 10 goals and 10 assists. "I had a really good freshman year," O'Donoghue said.
O'Donoghue plans to work hard during the final three years of his college career. "I want to do what it takes to be a better player and get to the next level," he said.
Although O'Donoghue was a New York Rangers fan growing up, his goal is to play for the AHL or the New York Islanders after college. "I really want them to stay on Long Island," he said. "Hockey is a great sport. It would be an awesome experience playing 40 minutes away from home in front of my friends and family."