Knights’ Captain and defenseman Shay Donovan will be reunited with his brother Ryder, as the blue liner has announced his commitment to the University of Wisconsin. After three years and nearly 150 games of regular season junior hockey under his belt, Donovan is set to join the Badgers later this fall.
“When I stepped on campus and saw the facilities and met the coaches and really got to feel the presence of Badger nation and the atmosphere all over town, it became a no brainer that it was a place that I’ll love every single day and a place that I’ve always dreamt about going to as a student, so to get to experience it all as a hockey player with my brother will be really special,” said Donovan.
Donovan, 20, came to the Knights during the 2017-18 season after starting the year with the MN Wilderness. He played 50 games for the Coulee Region Chill in his rookie season in the NAHL a year earlier.
“Shay was a big help on our backend last season and helped get us to the Robertson Cup,” said NAHL Head Coach and General Manager Tom Kowal. “His teammates voted and named him captain of the Knights this past year and I think that tells you not only about Shay’s abilities as a player, but also his leadership in the dressing room and the respect he’s gained from this team. The University of Wisconsin is getting a tremendous player both on and off the ice.”
Donovan put up nine goals and 40 points across his NAHL career. He finished his swan song season with two goals and 16 points. Earlier in the year, Donovan was selected to play for Team East at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
“Shay has earned this terrific opportunity to be a student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin with a combination of hard work and perseverance,” said NAHL Assistant Coach Andrew Whiteside. “Ever since Shay has stepped foot in Wilkes-Barre, he has developed into not only a more complete defensemen, but a leader on and off the ice for our younger players to look up to. On behalf of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, we would like to wish Shay the best of luck in Madison, Wisconsin!”
“When I started my junior career, my goal was to get an opportunity at the next level and through three years of hard work and sticking with it, I was able to do that. Going through some adversity with some untimely injuries and playing for multiple teams was tough, but I was able to overcome it by always believing that there was a chance it would pay off. The opportunity I got in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as a captain and being the older guy really prepared me for the role of being a leader and role model to younger guys at the next level. The role that I’ll be stepping into at University of Wisconsin will be a challenge everyday, but I am prepared to take it on using what I’ve learned in my three years in junior. I Can’t wait!”
The UOW Badgers are members of the NCAA Div. I Big 10 conference. The team finished 9-10-5-2 this past season. Joining Shay for his freshman year will be younger brother and fellow first year student, Ryder Donovan. The entire Knights’ organization would like to thank Shay Donovan for his two years of service with the Knights and we wish him nothing but the best as he takes the next step in his hockey career.