NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Washington Capitals and AHL's Hershey Bears, have signed defenseman Jon McDonald for the 2023-24 season. McDonald, 25, spent the last five seasons with the UMass Lowell River Hawks and suited up for ten games for the Toledo Walleye last season following the conclusion of his college career.
"I've liked Jon since day one," said Stingrays Head Coach Brenden Kotyk. "The biggest thing is that he's a tremendous leader. He's ultra-competitive and wants to get better every single day. I think that it's a steal for us to sign him at an ECHL deal, and there's not a doubt in my mind that I could see him being in the AHL by the end of the season, but when we have him here, he's going to be a very good defenseman for us."
The Livonia, MI native played in 142 games for UMass Lowell and earned the reputation of a stay-at-home defenseman. McDonald's college teammates voted him the Defensive Player of the Year in each of his last four seasons with UMass Lowell. McDonald is only the second River Hawk to be named Defensive Player of the Year four straight times. In 2022-23, McDonald captained the River Hawks, led the team in assists (17), and finished second on the team in blocks (48) in 35 games.
"I'm thrilled to be a part of the Stingrays organization and to be in Charleston," said McDonald. "Going to Lowell was a huge decision for me, and I grew a ton as a player and a person. Coach Bazin runs a tight ship, and it was a fantastic way to learn how to play within a system and be disciplined. Speaking with Coach Kotyk, I can see a lot of similarities, and I'm excited to get in his system and learn and develop with him."
Prior to his NCAA career, McDonald spent two seasons with the Fargo Force in the USHL. McDonald was an alternate captain when the Force captured their first Clark Cup championship in 2018. In 2016-17 McDonald played alongside Stingrays forward Jack Adams in Fargo.