By Jon Brooks
Our friend and fellow UNO Hockey fan Jason Combs (my co-host on the Mavpuckcast podcast) texted me at 11:43 p.m. last night with a YouTube video by former UNO Hockey defenseman Lawson McDonald.
McDonald left the UNO Hockey program after the 2018-19 season (his sophomore campaign) and is currently playing for the Division III University of Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjackets.
As someone who has followed all the minutiae around the UNO Hockey program the past 23 years, it’s an odd feeling when players are no longer on the roster. Fans rarely get to know the reasons behind those departures, and rarely hear from those players again.
When you spend so much of your life cheering on the exploits of these athletes, it sucks when their tenure at UNO comes to an abrupt end.
The video Jason sent me is titled “The D1 Recruiting Process” and is one of 20 videos currently on McDonald’s YouTube channel:
McDonald’s videos offer a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a college hockey player. Bridget and I were immediately impressed with his content and production value. He has a great presence on camera.
UNO Hockey fans will particularly enjoy the video titled “D1 College Hockey Gameday Vs D3 College Hockey Gameday,” which compares the Division I hockey experience with the Division III experience (and features UNO players Taylor Ward and Chayse Primeau):
Over the years I’ve talked about how I’d like to learn *more* about the UNO Hockey players. Fans rarely get to interact with the coaches and players, and much of the feature content produced by the university (and local media outlets) lacks personality — and can feel sterile.
It’s hard to truly understand an athlete’s experience when everything you know is based on in-game performance, stat sheets, and an occasional pull quote in a news story.
As I’ve been working my way through Lawson McDonald’s videos, I’ve developed a greater appreciation for McDonald specifically — and college hockey players in general.
For example, his video titled “D1 Vs D3 (Hockey Equipment)” compares the “tools of the trade” used at UNO and at Wisconsin-Superior (McDonald still wears the helmet he wore at UNO because it’s a newer model):
Years ago, the UNO Hockey program hosted “Hockey 101” events where coaches and players broke down game film and gave equipment demonstrations for fans. Some of McDonald’s content reminds me of those programs.
Since the hockey season was cut short — and since we don’t know when we’ll get to watch hockey in person again — you might want to subscribe to Lawson McDonald’s YouTube channel to tide you over.
He seems like a really good guy, and I wish we’d had the opportunity to interact with him more while he was in Omaha.
College hockey needs more of this type of content. Big shoutout to Lawson McDonald for telling his hockey story. It’s a lot of fun!