Liam McLinskey may be young, as an ’01 forward, but he does believe in love at first sight.
After all, it only took him one visit to know where he’ll be spending four years from 2020-24: Quinnipiac University, an ECAC Hockey member school in Hamden, Conn.
“I got a call from associate head coach Bill Riga, and he asked me if I’d like to visit,” said McLinskey, a resident of Pearl River, N.Y., who plays for the New Jersey Hitmen 18U team. “I fell in love with the campus, thought it was nice, and the whole program is great.”
Psst, do you want to know a secret? McLinskey has led a double life the last four years - at least in hockey terms. He’s split his seasons going back to freshman year in high school between Don Bosco Prep and the Hitmen program.
It is almost an understatement to say McLinskey played a lot of hockey in 2017-18. He skated in 42 games and scored 48 points for the Hitmen 16U team (27 of which were USPHL league games) and even posted 21 points as a junior for Don Bosco.
“This is actually my fourth year. I joined the Hitmen from Bantam Major and I’ve stayed through 15U, 16U and now this is my 18U year,” said McLinskey. “I just think that the training, especially with the strength and conditioning program, is great. We’re also on the ice a lot, and generally with the team a lot.”
Hitmen 18U head coach Anthony Yelovich certainly enjoys having McLinskey around, and is happy to number him among the team’s lettered leadership group.
“He is one of our assistant captains this year and he is typically one of the first ones to get up on the bench. He loves the game and his teammates,” said Yelovich, for whom McLinskey posted four points through his first three games.
“Liam is a very coachable, hard-working athlete that gets better everyday,” added Yelovich. “He is an offensively gifted player that sees the ice and creates opportunities with his big frame and smooth-skating ability. It’s an attribute to his parents and siblings that molded him to a competitive player who respects the game.”
“I like to play an up-tempo, fast game,” McLinskey added. “I’ll keep working on that and continue to get bigger and stronger.”
Strong performances over the summer at the Liberty Bell Tournament, and the Tier 1 Labor Day Faceoff in Foxboro, Mass., helped seal the deal for Quinnipiac in terms of getting the nod from McLinskey.
“They decided to call me the week after that [Tier 1 Labor Day] tournament,” McLinskey added.
There is the rest of this season and all of next season for McLinskey to meet his and Quinnipiac’s development goals before he arrives on campus in Hamden, Conn. He’ll be happy to do everything he needs to do - after all, it’s all time spent with teammates.