WATERVILLE — Colby College Blaise MacDonald had every reason to go all out to recruit a left-shot forward out of Westford, Mass., with a quick release, a nose for the puck and a high hockey IQ.

Given that he wouldn’t have to even leave his own house to do it, how could MacDonald not make his pitch on behalf of the Mules?

With countless contacts throughout college hockey, MacDonald knew he wasn’t the only coach hoping to have his son, Cam, join their program, either. But he also knew this was a time in his son’s life where he needed to be a father first.

“It’s Cameron’s career. I didn’t really care where he ended up. I would just give him my guidance,” Blaise said.

Cam, of course, knew his father’s coaching style, having tagged along when he coached at Niagara, UMass-Lowell and University of Massachusetts. In his father’s two years at Colby, he’d seen the school’s hockey program up close and got an idea of its academic structure and campus life. He also wanted to make sure he’d explored all of his options, which also included a year of prep school or junior hockey.

“I guess (playing for Colby) was always in the back of my mind, but (committing) was almost a last-second type thing,” Cam said.


Once Cam learned he’d met Colby’s academic standards, the opportunity became too good to pass up.

After a prolific career at Westford Academy in which he’d tallied 49 goals and 53 assists, Cam joined a huge freshman class at Colby that is at the center of Blaise MacDonald’s rebuilding project. Sixteen of 19 players currently active are first- or second-year students.

The Mules are experiencing some growing pains with an 0-3-1 start that included being swept by Bowdoin in a home-and-home series last weekend.

Both MacDonalds are focused on the bigger picture. Blaise believes giving the youngsters an opportunity means they will mature at a faster rate. Cam knows that there are a lot more bodies than spots in the lineup, and as his father has made clear, there is no special treatment.

“My advice to him was similar, but obviously a little more specific because of him being my son,” Blaise said. “We run this like a business. There are very high standards in our program. If you don’t meet those standards, you don’t play. And if you continue not to play, you won’t be in the program.”

Cam wasn’t expecting special treatment. He


“The first thought was that I’d never actually had him for a coach for a full year. He just would run an occasional practice,” he said. “So I was thinking about how that would go, how I would get used to that.”

“He’s probably seen a little bit more intensity out of me than he’s ever seen before,” Blaise said. “I just coach the way I normally coach. I forget that’s he’s even on my team most of the time, until I run into him on campus or something.”

Perhaps Cam has been trying to get his attention in practice then?

“He’s already sent me to the trainer twice,” Blaise said. “He shot a puck off my ankle. I got a big bruise and had trouble with my skate. And then we had a little collision on the ice. It was my fault, doing a drill, where I had to get some attention from our trainer.

“So, just like being in the back yard,” Blaise added.

Cam started the season playing on the Mules’ green line and working on power play and penalty-killing units. His first goal, which came in the season-opening loss to Williams, was a fairly typical goal for him. It came on a rebound that found the shaft of his stick as he was crashing the net.


“My linemates were celebrating, so I didn’t know if they put the puck in the back of the net or if I did, so I just went for the group hug and went down the line,” said Cam, who scored his second goal of the season against Bowdoin last weekend.

“I used to tell him when he was a young lad his best skill was puck luck,” Blaise said. “I’ve never seen pucks jump on guys sticks out of crowds like Cam was able to get. “He’s always had a very good sense of where to be, when to be there and then what to do once you get there.”

Being the coach’s son is unfamiliar territory for Cam. It’s not an easy position for any athlete to be in, particularly a college freshman. But he credits his teammates, particularly the juniors and seniors, with putting him at ease.

“It wasn’t difficult at all. All of the guys on the team were very welcoming of me, and every freshman for that matter, and they just made it an easy transition,” Cam said.

Blaise acknowledges the dilemmas his son can face, even away from the ice.

“When you go back to the dorms and you’re having dinner after a tough practice and they start talking about that curmudgeon coach of yours, you need to understand that’s your dad and you’ve got to just be able to take it,” Blaise said.


“I think the fortunate thing is Cam is a 180 from me,” he added later with a smile. “He’s kind, thoughtful, peaceful and well-adjusted.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.