BOSTON (CBS) — Just one game into his NHL career, Ryan Donato is already a rising star for the Boston Bruins.
He was the talk of the town after his thrilling debut on Monday night, scoring his first career goal and helping on two others in Boston’s overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. But the local kid didn’t spend the night celebrating into the wee hours. Instead he hit the hay and got a good night’s sleep.
He did, after all, have a 9 a.m. lecture to attend on Tuesday morning.
That’s right. A 21-year-old star-in-the-making in one of the country’s most sports-crazed towns is still focused on his academics at Harvard University. That commitment caused him to miss Tuesday’s practice and the team’s flight to St. Louis for Wednesday night’s game against the Blues.
Fret not; Donato took a commercial flight to St. Louis on Tuesday night and is expected to suit up for Wednesday night’s tilt. His dedication to his studies will create quit the juggling act the rest of the season, but it’s something both Donato and the Bruins knew would happen when the kid signed with the team over the weekend.
“I plan on finishing this semester academically,” Donato, a junior Sociology major, told reporters on Monday prior to his debut. “Obviously it’s going be difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but for me, I need to finish this semester to have that opportunity and not put it off an extra couple of years.”
Donato is still living on campus, much like Charlie McAvoy did last year after joining the Bruins following Boston University’s season. His status with the Bruins will certainly make him a B.M.O.C., though the Hobey Baker finalist probably didn’t need much help in that department after leading the Crimson in points.
His commitment to his academics is admirable, and balancing life in the NHL for the playoff-bound Bruins and his studies should only help Donato as his career progresses.