Marc McLaughlin: Boston College’s Ultimate Team Player
Photo by BCEagles.com
You may not know much about Marc McLaughlin, but that’s ok. He’s the guy who does all the little things that go unnoticed. He’s the one who impacts the game in meaningful ways, even if those ways don’t include stuffing the stat sheet or showing up on SportsCenter’s Top 10. He’s used to carving out a niche as a glue guy, and he’ll be the first one to deflect praise when it comes to an individual accomplishment.
Case in point, I asked him about his ability to step up in big moments. Last season, he scored four goals. Three came in the final month of the season, including two in the first found of the Hockey East Tournament against Providence. The other came on the road at Boston University. McLaughlin didn’t find the back of the net much, but when he did, he made it count. Yet, when I asked him about his performance, he pointed to the team’s success.
“Our whole team started to improve down the stretch, and everyone stepped up and found a new gear,” McLaughlin said.
Aside from being BC’s everyman on the ice, McLaughlin’s impact is felt far beyond the Conte Forum walls. While playing with his junior team in Cedar Rapids and continuing to his time at BC, he’s been actively involved with many community service projects.
With the RoughRiders, he was the recipient of the Curt Hammer Award, given to the USHL player who “distinguishes himself both on and off the ice by demonstrating outstanding performance skills, pride, and determination.”
The award was well-merited, given McLaughlin’s community involvement and team-first attitude:
- He was present at every game, practice and weightlifting session even though he was battling injuries most of the year.
- He coordinated players’ community appearances.
- He worked at a nonprofit childcare center on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7am-9am.
- On Wednesdays, he mentored students at a local elementary school.
- McLaughlin coordinated the team’s involvement with the Special Olympics and the Freedom Foundation, where players conversed with and served lunch to veterans.
- He also volunteered at two senior centers.
- He delivered cookies to first responders.
- And he coordinated a fundraiser with a local restaurant to raise money to support the Humboldt Broncos.
Again, for McLaughlin, reflecting on the award brings to mind his teammates and the community, not the personal leadership that merited him the award.
“Our team in general was really involved in the community,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a really strong passion for hockey in that small city of Cedar Rapids. They show so much passion for us that to give back to the community was a great opportunity for us.”
McLaughlin spent two seasons in Cedar Rapids. Moving to the midwest was definitely a change of pace for a kid who grew up in Billerica and played prep hockey in Massachusetts, but McLaughlin credits his welcoming billet family with making the transition easier. He was also accompanied by some friends he grew up playing with, including current Northeastern forward TJ Walsh who was McLaughlin’s teammate at Cushing Academy and with the RoughRiders.
McLaughlin’s play really took off during his second season with Cedar Rapids. After recording 16 points in 60 games during his first season, McLaughlin averaged almost a point per game during his follow-up campaign. Unfortunately, he was injured most of the year and only ended up playing 20 games. McLaughlin also captained Cedar Rapids during the injury-plagued season.
“Whenever you’re put in a leadership position, it’s an honor,” McLaughlin said. “I didn’t take that lightly. I thought we had a lot of leadership on the team in general. Good teams have a lot of good leaders.”
McLaughlin came to BC and immediately excelled in the fourth line center role. This season he started on the third line but now centers the fourth line again. This coincided with a series of line shuffling moves by Coach Jerry York that spurred a 10-game winning streak. Moving McLaughlin down is more about fit than skill. In terms of talent, McLaughlin is better than a fourth liner. But he just plays his role so well as the fourth line center. His high-energy style of play extends offensive possessions and pressures opposing offenses into making mistakes.
Since the move, he’s also unlocked an offensive component to his game, possibly a reward for his hustle. Against Vermont, he and Patrick Giles combined for a beautiful short-handed goal. As the Catamounts led the breakout, McLaughlin poked the puck loose to Giles. The two went back and forth from Giles to McLaughlin to Giles for a goal.
A few weeks later against Harvard, the two were at it again. This time Giles started the rush. He powered the puck forward and sent a wrister on net. Cameron Gornet made the left pad save sending the puck to the other side of the net. McLaughlin could’ve stayed back, as BC was a man down, but he read the play well and crashed the net. The puck caromed out to him, and he tapped it into the back of the net. He has seven points this season, all as the fourth line center.
“I always just want to give 110 percent,” McLaughlin said. “I really value playing both zones and playing a two-way game. I just want to provide as much energy as I can for the guys.”
Hopefully now you know a bit more about McLaughlin. He’s often overlooked, but his play shouldn’t go unheralded. Next time you’re watching a BC hockey game, follow him for a shift or two. If there’s a loose puck along the boards, look for him to win the race. If there’s a shot from the point, look for him to block it. If there’s a role, any role, BC needs filled, look for him to fill it.