Santa Margarita native, OCHC alum McGill commits to NCAA D-III New England College
It takes a lot for a guy like Adam McGill, so used to growing up in the warm climate of Santa Margarita, to make the decision to keep going back to New England for his favorite game in the world.
However, the South Shore Kings over the last two years, and NCAA Division III New England College for the next four, have offered everything he’s needed and wanted from a hockey program.
“Since it was my last year being able to play junior hockey, I wanted to contact NEC as soon as I re-signed with the Kings,” said McGill, the Kings’ USPHL Premier captain. “When I began the search for schools with NCAA programs that had my major (Criminal Justice), NEC was the one who caught my attention. With the hockey program at NEC being very competitive and successful over the last couple of years, it really pushed me harder during the season to get an offer to attend the school.”
More than three years ago, McGill made his first departure from California, originally joining the Boston (now Bridgewater) Bandits and skating in a full USPHL Elite season. He kept his eyes on the prize and put his nose to the grindstone of the junior process – in most cases, it’s not overnight that you get a college offer. His dedication and energy led him to join the USPHL Premier’s Bandits the next year.
“Playing only three Premier games with the Bandits my first year, I decided to play in the Elite games rather than not playing at all. Going from youth hockey (with Orange County Hockey Club) to juniors was quite the jump for me, and it took me a while to adapt to the faster pace level,” said McGill. “Being on the bubble of making the lineup for the Premier games and getting lots of ice time and points in Elite not only helped me adapt, but also boosted my confidence.”
From there, he moved a few miles away to join the Kings and head coach David O’Donnell’s Premier team to continue his development.
“The South Shore Kings have played a tremendous part in my development that gave me a chance to play college hockey at the NCAA level. Being able to have the option to skate an hour before and after to work on individual stuff was amazing,” said McGill. “We were also able to skate with the 18U team and occasionally maybe given the option to skate with the NCDC team.
“Playing there for two years, head coach Dave O’Donnell and I grew a great friendship on and off the ice. I really respected him because he would always say if you work hard, have a good mindset, and do well in practice or games you will be rewarded,” he said. “The Kings helped me grow not just on the ice but also in fitness and taking care of my body. Our off-ice training was at Edge Performance Systems (EPS) and it was amazing. Being surrounded by trainers that train NHL and NFL athletes every single day is something special and shows that they know what they are doing.”
The performances in practices – including before and after the set time – plus his off-ice work paid off in games. He saw his offensive output rise from 12 points in 40 games during the 2019-20 season to 21 points in 34 contests during the 2020-21 season. McGill’s game was about a lot more than stats, as he said he learned a lot from NEC coaches and other college coaches about what would be expected at the NCAA level.
“As a player that did not know much about what college coaches will be looking for when doing their recruiting process, the first thing I did was ask the coaches from each school I was interested in about what they look for in the players while scouting. NEC mentioned that playmaking abilities, skating, and being competitive were the three things they look for in all players,” said McGill. “This season, I focused on incorporating all three into my game with the ability to score when given the opportunity. Eventually I (would) l love to be an impact player that the coaching staff can rely on when it is a close battle.”
McGill was able to pay a visit to NEC from the home of his billets, getting to see the hockey facilities, the classrooms, dining halls and dorms.
“The arena being on campus is really nice as it sits in between the classrooms and dorms. Everything in the arena was nice from the locker room, to the ice, and even the stands for fans once they are allowed to attend again,” McGill said. “The classrooms and dining halls looked almost as if they were brand new. The location of it is really beautiful with lots of hiking trails, rivers, and golf courses.”
McGill is looking forward to studying Criminal Justice, as his lifelong goal has been to join a federal agency such as the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Before that, however, there is a lot of work planned to be ready for NCAA hockey.
“This summer I will be focusing on a little bit of everything in my game but as well as fitness. In order to be strong on the puck against bigger athletes, I have to focus on developing my strength,” he said. “On ice, I plan to sharpen up my edge work and shooting abilities.”
McGill is just extremely grateful to all those who have helped get him to this point in his career.
“I would like to thank the South Shore Kings for allowing me to represent the program the last two years, be the captain of the team, and helping me move on to the next level,” McGill said. “I would love to thank my family, especially my parents for sacrificing a lot for me to accomplish my dream of playing college hockey and as well as supporting me throughout this hockey journey. Lastly, thank you to the USPHL for providing a great league with great competition and building a foundation to help hockey players get a chance to play NCAA hockey.”
— Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com
(June 3, 2021)