The Danbury Jr Hat Tricks are extremely pleased to announce that 2000 forward Kolby Donovan has committed to continue his academic and hockey careers at Grand Canyon University in the fall of 2021. Donovan was a vital part of Danbury’s NA3HL teams the past two seasons, making significant contributions on the ice, in the locker room and in the community. The Loveland, CO native will join the Lopes hockey program when he arrives in Phoenix, AZ to start his college experience. GCU competes at the Division I level of the American Collegiate Hockey Association in the Western Collegiate Hockey League.
Donovan was a critical member of the forward lines since he arrived in Danbury in the fall of 2019. Over the course of two seasons in The Orange and Black he appeared in 75 games. Donovan netted 32 goals while dishing out 47 assists to record a total of 79 points during that time. During the 2019-20 season the skilled two-way forward was named the Bauer NA3HL Northeast Division Star of the Week twice. The first time was October 10 after putting up five points in three games at the NA3HL East Showcase, including tallying two power play goals, one of which was the game-winner, in a 4-1 win over the previously unbeaten Lewiston-Auburn Nordiques on October 8. His second Star of the Week honor came on November 27 after recording five points on the strength of a goal and four assists in a two game weekend sweep of the Skylands Kings on November 23 and 24. The goal was another power play, game-winning tally. Donovan was named the Second Star on February 6 after a three point weekend in a two game sweep of the Elmira Jr Soaring which included both goals in a 2-1 win on February 1. He also received an honorable mention nod on October 17 after a six point weekend sweep over Skylands October 12 and 13. His exceptional play led to Donovan being selected to represent Danbury in the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament in February 2020, but he was unable to participate due to an injury. At the conclusion of the season he was awarded the NA3HL Northeast Division’s Community Service Award for his efforts to help others throughout the greater Danbury community.
Donovan continued his excellent play throughout the 2020-21 season while serving as a team captain. He contributed in every situation, including excelling on both the power play and penalty kill. On the power play, Donovan’s ten assists ranked second on the team, trailing only Connor Lefkof who had 13. He also joined forces with teammate Dylan Webber as the team’s top penalty killing forward pair. Donovan recorded seven multipoint games during the season, including five points in a 10-1 win over the Bay State Bobcats on March 9 when he netted the game-winning goal. The Jr Hat Tricks went 7-1 when Donovan recorded two or more points in a game. He also represented Danbury in the NA3HL East Division Top Prospects Showcase in March.
Donovan discussed his experiences in Danbury as well as his college decision saying, “Deciding where I will spend the next four years of my life has not been an easy decision, but I can’t express the level of excitement I have to attend Grand Canyon University this fall. The amount of support and help I have had along the way from my teammates and coaches in Danbury far exceeded what I could have asked for. Coach Cunningham and Coach Allen are true professionals when it comes to developing and preparing players, both on and off the ice, for whatever path they choose to take. I was able to grow on the ice as a player and, more importantly, off the ice as a young man who is now better prepared for my future. I will never be able to truly thank them for the amount of time, energy, and genuine care they allotted me for the two years that I spent in Danbury. My time in Danbury has introduced me to friends that I would classify as brothers, spending nearly every second of every day with these guys has provided me memories and friendships that will certainly last the rest of my life. Choosing GCU will allow me the opportunity to pursue a tremendous education while still being able to play and enjoy the sport I love. I believe the educational component of being a college student-athlete is just as important, if not more important, than your sport experience, That’s why I think GCU will be a place where I will thrive and I will be able to set myself up for success in the future. I can’t wait to get down to Phoenix for the next four years!”
“I am beyond thrilled for Kolby that he has chosen to continue his education and hockey career at Grand Canyon. The way he talked about his recent visit to the campus made it clear that he felt extremely comfortable and that he could envision himself thriving at GCU. Kolby was a fantastic player for us and he engrained himself in the foundation of our program with his work ethic, character, personality and reliability. The Lopes hockey program is getting a player who brings them tremendous talent, intelligence, a sincere desire to be his best, a willingness to push those around him and who is a truly awesome teammate. I am certain that he will be beloved in Phoenix very quickly! I am so proud to have worked with Kolby and I extend both him and his amazing family my heartfelt congratulations!” said former Head Coach Kevin Cunningham.
Donovan is the ninth Jr Hat Trick to make a college commitment this season. He joins fellow two-year teammates Brandon Cope (Nichols College), Alex Fernandes (Post University), Lefkof, Cole Madzey and Webber (all three to New England College) moving on to college hockey in the fall of 2021. A full list of player advancements during Danbury’s NA3HL history can be found here: yearly player advancements.