Eric MacAdams has always put team first.
That attitude - along with some incredible skill and tenaciousness - has helped him win three Massachusetts Select Championships and make three appearances at USA Hockey Nationals as part of a talented VJW '97 Elite squad.
He has also helped his Austin Prep team advance to the Super 8. This past summer, MacAdams was selected to compete in the USA Hockey’s Select 17s Player Development Camp in Buffalo and scouts and collegiate coaches took notice.
MacAdams scored four goals and added two assists in five games. So impressive was MacAdams that Russ Bitely of Hockey Examiner wrote the following feature story on the Bay State dynamo. This fall, MacAdams will play for the VJW U-18 team and prepare for his junior season with Austin Prep.
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MacAdams making his name in the hockey world
By Russ Bitely
September 24, 2014
Eric MacAdams is a pretty good hockey player at 17-years of age. Although so are many other players in the United States particularly in Massachusetts, especially for his age bracket. This year’s 2015 NHL Draft will have the known names of Noah Hanifin, Colin White, Casey Fitzgerald, and Cam Askew all called out in southern Florida this upcoming June. The four players were born in 1997 and cultivated their games in the greater Boston area. In fact, each also developed their skill sets while playing with the Valley Jr. Warriors program in Haverhill, MA along with MacAdams.
The coincidence of it all is Eric’s father, Steve, coached the team for several seasons helping lead the team to USA Hockey National and Massachusetts State Tournaments through the years. Hanifin is already enrolled at Boston College this fall while White and Fitzgerald are set to reunite with their former Jr. Warrior and USA National Team Development Program (NTDP) teammate next season in Chestnut Hill. Askew, a former Boston University commit, bolted for the major junior ranks of the QMJHL last year and will be playing this season with the Moncton Wildcats.
Though there still sits MacAdams looking to make his own name in the hockey world.
Besides being in the shadow of the “Big 4”, MacAdams would have been more in the spotlight earlier although he injured his spleen early last season while being speared in the mid-section during Massachusetts High School hockey league play. Not only was he distressed from the injury, he ended up also catching mononucleosis that wiped a lot of game time and exposure to coaches and scouts. The injury and sickness cost MacAdams 7-8 weeks of playing time and for the public high school ranks that is the majority of the season.
Yet when MacAdams was finally cleared to play late in the season he made the most of his return in the playoffs in the Massachusetts Super 8 Tournament with Austin Prep. He helped lead the Cougars to victories in quarterfinal and semi-final action.
MacAdams displayed his ability to play a strong two-game by burring big goals, setting up plays, and handling his duties on the defensive side of the puck as well. In the quarters vs. Central Catholic he scored two goals along with a power-play assist. But he also broke up a play in the third period on strong, resilient hustle on the back check. Attributes certainly scouts and coaches take notice upon.
In the semi-final game vs. always talented BC High, he not only scored the lone goal during regulation play, MacAdams also kept his team’s season alive while converting in the shootout when all the chips were on the line -- a display of a pressure performance player.
A former coach to MacAdams and current Assistant GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tom Fitzgerald, described MacAdams as, “A great kid! He plays with a ton of emotion, energy, and sandpaper. Strong work ethic and compete level.”
Valley Jr. Warriors Jr. A Assistant Coach and Owner of Pride Hockey, Jeremy Tabb, had this to say, “I have always liked his game. He plays both ways, physical when needed. He’s just an honest player.”
Personally I do not disagree with either synopsis after watching MacAdams compete this summer at USA Hockey’s Select 17s Player Development Camp in Buffalo. In fact, I thought he showcased a solid all-around game and may just have more offensive punch then he is getting credit. In one game, he was certainly one of the better performers on the ice as I circled his name after he displayed smart, little touches around the ice showing good vision, strong puck possession, and nifty forehand-backhand finish for a goal too.
He produced four goals and two assists in the week long player development camp in the five games played.
Eric is currently playing for the Valley Jr. Warriors U18 team before he sets out on his junior campaign with Austin Prep this upcoming season in November. No question this will be a big year for the 5’11” 180lbs. forward native to Salem, MA.
Some scouts are already taken notice as MacAdams was taken in this past year’s QMJHL Draft in the 14th Round by the Drummondville Voltigeurs. While he admits he is keeping all his options open, it appears the NCAA route is his true target.
“My biggest goal is to play Division I college hockey”, stated MacAdams on his ultimate prize. While there is nothing concrete in commitment from any NCAA program, he hopes the season boast well this year as he is challenging himself to get his Warriors back to Nationals and Austin Prep to take home a Super 8 title.
In speaking with MacAdams you easily sense he has the “Team First” approach. He is more concerned about sacrifice and commitment to his coaches and teammates than personal achievement.
“Personal goals would be to help the team out in any way I can,” added MacAdams. “I am a hard working two-way forward who plays hard in the corners and wins battles as well defensively.” Though he is proud of scoring the big shootout goal in the Super 8 semi-final game and should be as it gave his team life support.
When asked about his health, the young forward quipped, “I am definitely back 100% physically and mentally from the injury,” resonated from his voice with a upbeat tone.
His summer regime consisted of off-ice work outs four times a week while also strapping on the boots another 2-3 times per week to improve upon his strength and shot.
“He wants it. He works hard on and off the ice. It is up to him but I will give him every opportunity to succeed,” acknowledged his father, Steve, a former standout at Salem State.
And Eric is grateful for the support and education he received from his father growing up around the rinks. “He has taught me everything I know and what to expect. He’s taught me everything about my game and provides me the information about it too.” He also pays credit to Tom Fitzgerald who influenced his game in his early teen years as well.
The young MacAdams realizes nothing in life comes easy and he would not want it any other because that’s not his nature. “He is a competitive kid, he loves it. Everything he gets he works hard for”, the elder MacAdams quoted.
And while Eric will be watching his former Valley Jr. Warrior teammates participate Thursday night at USA Hockey’s All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo, he knows all his dedication and desire for the game will soon pay off. Perhaps a bit of a sleeper in the eyes of many coaches as the start of the 2014-15 season drops the puck, yet with a healthy, full season and competitive, two-way style there is no doubt MacAdams will make his own name in the hockey world soon.