Coaches, New Facility Attract McElaney to Colby

Dexter Southfield forward John McElaney began looking at schools his junior year, but once he visited Colby, he knew the search was over. Between the coaches and the new facilities being built on campus, Colby was the place McElaney wanted to play his college hockey.

Dexter is 13-1 this season, and McElaney has 10 points in 14 games.

“John facilitates a lot and makes others better,” said our scouts. “Went hard to the net. Has good vision in tight and can put pucks home or make short passes to free up chances for others. His first touches were good and his hands are quick. Can break down defenders in a number of ways and played with good pace.”

NZ: How did you first fall in love with the game? What got you started playing hockey?

McElaney: “My Dad, Eddie put my brothers and I on the ice at a young age and we all loved to play.  Whether we were playing street hockey or pond hockey my dad was always there feeding us passes and teaching us the game.  My dad’s passion and love for the game rubbed off on me when I was younger and I have loved to play ever since then.”  

NZ: There’s a lot of hockey in the area, but what attracted you to Dexter for prep hockey?

McElaney: “Dexter Southfield has been a top tier program in prep hockey for years.  DXSF has a great combination of rigorous academics and athletics that I was looking for in a school.  DXSF has athletic facilities that are second to none, however, what really sets Dexter Southfield apart for me is the coaching staff.  Coach Donato, Coach McColgan, and Coach Kelleher challenge us every day to compete by giving us tough love and they coach to win.  They develop long-lasting relationships with their players and always come to the rink with smiles on their faces making it fun to play for them.” 

NZ: You’ve been playing split season with the Jr. Bruins. Did you play your youth hockey with them as well? Where do you feel like your game as grown the most with the Jr. Bruins?

McElaney: “I played my youth hockey with the Boston Jr. Terriers until my first year of U16.  After that, I played two half seasons with the Jr. Bruins.  Last year I played for the U18 Cape Cod Whalers and this year I played U19 Fall Prep.  I took a little bit of a different path playing for a few teams however, it allowed me to meet a lot of new kids and learn more about the game from different coaches.  I like to think that my game has improved every year and I will continue to grow and develop as a hockey player.” 

NZ: Similarly, what are the biggest areas the Dexter coaches have helped your game?

McElaney: “Coach Donato, Coach McColgan, and Coach Kelliher have emphasized the importance of all the little things.  For example, stick positioning, forcing guys to smaller areas of the ice by taking proper angles and taking away time and space.  My play on the walls whether it’s fielding pucks off the boards or making sure to get pucks out has improved throughout my four years due to many repetitions in practice and their help.  The Dexter Southfield coaches have also helped me improve my defensive game and penalty killing by giving me the tools to be able to help the team in any situation.”    

NZ: What are some of your goals for this year? What are you looking to improve?

McElaney: “Our goal every year has been to win the Elite Eight tournament.  We haven’t been able to accomplish this yet but that’s something we work towards each and every day of the season.  I can always improve in all aspects of the game but a major thing I focus on is continuing to get faster and stronger.  This can help me win puck battles, improve my game on the wall and in corners as well as make me a hard guy to play against.” 

NZ: Where do you see your strengths as a player?

McElaney: “I see the ice well, I have been taught by my dad from a young age to create little two on ones all over the ice and move the puck to the player in the best possible position to score.  I love to compete and make plays at a high tempo by taking open ice and keeping my head up.  The power play is one of my strengths as I have a little extra time and space to move it to the right guy and manufacture some scoring chances.”    

NZ: What attracted you to Colby?

McElaney: “When I visited Colby I loved the campus and was amazed at the new athletic facility that is being constructed right now.  Coach MacDonald and Coach Walsh blew me away with their passion and knowledge for the game.  Coach MacDonald and Coach Walsh made me feel at home and I loved everything they had to say about the tight knit group of guys and the Colby Hockey Program.  By the end of the visit I knew Colby was the school for me.  My parents and I decided that playing for Coach MacDonald and Coach Walsh would be a great place for me to grow as a person and as a hockey player.”

NZ: What was your recruiting process like? When were teams first talking to you and stuff like that?

McElaney: “My recruiting process began in the spring of my junior year where I began to look at schools where I could see myself.  I reached out to schools as well as had a lot of help from Coach Donato who was working the phone and talking to coaches for me.  After my tour of Colby, I didn’t need to go on any others because I knew that Colby was the best fit for me.”