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Donato Looks to Carry on Family Name

It is a challenge for athletes to live up to a reputation forged by their fathers who excelled at the highest level of their sport.

For Ryan Donato, a prospect for the Boston Bruins the challenges do not stop there.

Boston spent its second round draft pick and 56th overall in the NHL Draft in 2014 on Donato. He attended the development camp for the Bruins and must now follow in the footsteps that his father Ted, forged over 796 games in the NHL, including over 500 while in a Bruins uniform.

In 1987, the Bruins drafted Ryan’s father in the fifth round.

What that means is the high expectations have created a great deal of pressure sitting squarely on the shoulders of an 18-year old

Ryan is a native of Massachusetts, was raised near Boston and attended Brookline, Massachusetts’ Dexter School.

Ryan admits there is some pressure. However, he said growing up he had pressure as well just by having the Donato last name and being associated with his father gave him even more pressure.

Ryan learned early to utilize the pressure to his advantage.

His father is currently the Harvard University hockey coach and believes his son’s situation is unique, but exciting.

Word is that the Bruins were tough on the young Donato about his demeanor and the weaknesses he has in his game.

Don Sweeney the assistant GM for Boston said he heard about how the team challenged him during the interview process. Sweeney played with Ryan’s father Ted with Boston and while at Harvard.

He said you must make sure a player understands there are areas in his game that need to be worked on.

Boston after that interview process decided Donato was their choice.

Ryan decided over this past winter to attend Harvard where his dad played. He also completed his junior year with Dexter, where he was the leader in prep school New England hockey with 37 goals and 41 assists in only 30 games.

With the draft process now behind him, the young Donato has a big decision to make. He can played another season at Dexter or join the United States Hockey League’s Omaha Lancers.

There are several factors taken into account between junior hockey and prep school, including development as a player and academics. He hopes to make his decision soon.

Wherever the young Donato ends up, he wants to increase his explosiveness and add strength. Whatever decision he makes it will be done with the idea of making progress toward a career in the NHL and making sure, he upholds the name of the Donato’s.

Of course, with the support system that Donato has around in his dad and other former Bruins who are in the organization, Ryan should receive the best advice he can and will be able to make the decision that is best for him, since he has a long career in hockey ahead of him.

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