Jack McAra was inspired to play hockey by his grandfather, the only other person in his family to play the sport, and models his game after Toronto Maple Leafs all-star Mitch Marner.
“He’s a forward as well – he’s fast and sees the ice well,” says the native of Burlington, Ont., who proudly represents his hometown on the U18 AAA Burlington Eagles of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association’s South Central AAA Hockey League.
And like Marner, McAra also ranks high among the leading scorers in his league with 15 goals and 26 assists in 33 games, earning him a selection to the Ontario Minor Hockey Association’s U18 AAA all-star game in December.
“It was just a fun experience to, you know, test yourself against the best,” said McAra, who added “it was hard” to shake off “some battles I’ve been through against the guys on my team but for this game everyone kind of puts it aside.”
That competitiveness has helped McAra lead the Eagles to a 25-2-5 record this season, securing top spot in the SCTA in the regular season.
Head coach Mark Corbett has watched the way his game has evolved the past two years and praised the impact he’s made on the team.
“He’s a great player, sees the ice very, very well,” said Corbett. “He has the ability to take over the game when he needs to, being a second year guy. Not only on the ice is he a great player but off the ice he’s been a great leader for us.”
McAra and the Eagles are now working on a dream finish to their season, pursuing a title in the OMHA championships.
“We knew we were going to be here and we're just ready to compete and get it done,” he said. “We've all been waiting for this playoff run and the OMHA chase, we're super excited and we want to do the best we can.”
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Lisa Amaral is a student in the Sport Journalism post-grad program at Centennial College. Follow her on Twitter @lisagamaral