The Lloydminster Bobcats are excited to announce that rookie goaltender and Border City native Austin McGrath has officially committed to playing hockey for the NCAA Division I Cornell Big Red of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference beginning in 2017-18.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to play for Cornell in the coming years. I could not have accomplished this without help from my teammates and coaches over the past few years; as well as the incredible support I have received from my family along the way,” said McGrath.
The standout goaltender was acquired by the Bobcats at the beginning of the 2016-17 season via a trade with the Spruce Grove Saints which saw '96 forward Brett Smythe head west of Edmonton in exchange for McGrath and future considerations.
“When we had an opportunity to add Austin to our organization, the scouting and coaching staff knew we had to jump at it right away. We understood from the beginning that we were getting a good goaltender, and a great individual,” says Head Coach and GM Travis Clayton. “The perseverance and determination he has come to be known for on the ice is the same dedication and passion he applies to every facet of his life. It’s no surprise that he will now be attending an Ivy League school.”
McGrath has been the go-to guy for Clayton coached teams over the past few years, advancing to the Telus Cup in 2016 with the Midget AAA Bobcats before starting 43 games for the Jr. A Bobcats this season, finishing with a .905 save percentage. His solid performance between the pipes earned him a nomination for the league’s Rookie of the Year award, as well as recognition as the team’s MVP, Academic Athlete of the Year, and Rookie of the Year.
Austin becomes the third player on the 2016-17 Bobcats with an NCAA Division I commitment, joining Rob Johnson (Air Force) and fellow Lloydminster native Daniel Hilsendager (Western Michigan).
The Bobcats would like to thank Austin for all his hard work and dedication to the organization, and wish him and his family all the best in the coming years.
**IN THE PICTURE: On Saturday evening Austin met with Joe Nieuwendyk at the Leafs Alumni after party. Nieuwendyk also attended Cornell from 1984-1987 and was team captain his final season.
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