In a fitting turn of events, twins Matt and Mark McRae of the Cornell men’s ice hockey team were both selected by the Atlanta Thrashers during the National Hockey League’s Entry Draft held June 24-25 in Calgary, Alberta.
Matt, a center, was chosen as pick no. 147 in the fifth round, while Mark, a defenseman, was the 288th player taken, in the tenth round.
“I know both their goals is to get to the NHL,” head coach Mike Schafer ’86 said. “It’s a huge step from college hockey to pro hockey.”
Originally from Toronto, Ont., the McRaes both turned down opportunities to play Junior A hockey in Canada after high school, opting instead to compete for the Big Red.
In the red and white uniforms, the rising sophomores played significant roles on the Red’s run to ECAC’s Final Five Tournament in Lake Placid last season. Both earned a spot on the conference all-rookie team. Matt tallied eight goals and 16 assists while Mark added five goals as well as 16 assists.
According to Schafer, the McRaes will remain at Cornell, rather than turn pro immediately.
“They obviously need to get bigger and stronger,” he pointed out, adding, “They know [the NHL] is a different level.”
Since the Entry Draft began in 1969, Cornell has had 28 players chosen, second in the ECAC and only behind Clarkson which has had 32.
In all this year, the ECAC had 10 draftees, tied for first among NCAA ice hockey conferences. Harvard’s Dominic Moore was the first player from the ECAC selected, picked 95th by the New York Rangers in the third round.
The Crimson led the way with three players selected; Rensselaer joined Cornell with two; Union, Clarkson, Brown, and Dartmouth all had one player taken.
35 collegians were chosen among the 293 selections in the Entry draft, which is typically dominated by Europeans.
Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj