He may line up as a defenseman, but Eamonn McDermott’s prowess as an offensive weapon for Colorado College’s hockey team has been blatantly apparent this season.
The junior from Shaker Heights, Ohio, has used his hawk-like vision and instincts to tally a team-high eight assists through eight games, matching the total number of table-setters he had in 27 games as a sophomore. With no lingering effects from a left knee injury that cost him six weeks last season holding him back, McDermott has been a force for the 5-3 Tigers so far.
McDermott tallied three assists in Friday’s 5-4 overtime win against Wisconsin and picked up another one the next night at the Kohl Center to give him eight, four more than any other Tiger. Hours of hard work during the summer have helped make the effective defenseman a key catalyst for CC’s high-powered offense.
“His passing is elite,” Colorado College coach Scott Owens said. “His hockey sense is really good, and his skating has continued to get better. He’s come in now as an upperclassman and has a letter on his chest, and he radiates confidence. He’s really widely respected by his teammates, he’s a smart player and a smart kid overall.”
His fellow Tigers appreciate McDermott’s unique combination of skills.
“He’s a smooth defenseman, is a good puck mover and has great vision out there,” junior goalie Josh Thorimbert said. “You can see on the power play that he’s finding guys, and those stretch passes he makes are unbelievable. The vision he has on the power play is phenomenal.
“You don’t see stretch passes like that from defensemen, and it catches other teams off guard. To be able to have that on your team is definitely a great asset.”
The only junior voted as an assistant captain by his teammates, McDermott cherishes his role on the team.
“It’s a huge honor that your teammates think you’re worthy of that,” said McDermott, who has four goals and 28 assists in his career. “You don’t want to change too much from what got you there, but it’s a huge honor and I’m very fortunate.”
While they respect him as a leader and appreciate his abilities, McDermott’s teammates won’t resist a chance to give the 5-foot-10, 183-pounder some good-natured ribbing at his expense.
Asked to describe his teammate, junior Jeff Collett hesitated for a moment before answering.
“He’s a little bit different,” Collett said with a smirk. “Guys on the team like to call him ‘Grandpa,’ because he acts like he’s older. He just kind of does his own thing.”
How, exactly, is he different?
“He goes to bed really early, and whenever you go to hang out with him, he’s always in his bathrobe,” Collett said. “When the rest of us are playing video games or doing homework, he’s in his room alone watching TV shows or having a bath or something like that.
“He’s a great teammate.”