USHL: MacArthur comes to Waterloo

By Jason Shaner

Peter MacArthur had a number of chances to play anywhere he wanted to in the USHL, but he chose Waterloo. Seven teams in total offered a tender to the 5’10”, 177-pound winger from Clifton Park, New York, but MacArthur was first contacted by the Waterloo staff and felt a sense of loyalty and connection to the team. It didn’t hurt his long time friend and current Black Hawk Jake Schwan was there too.

MacArthur played for the Northwood Prep School last season, garnering 84 points. But the young forward was excited for the change in his role with the Black Hawks. “I was the leading scorer (at Northwood), I definitely wanted to get out of there, not to be the star and get a different role,” he said. “I like to be looked to score goals, but to do other things as well. It’s a lot more fun like this now.”

Black Hawks head coach/GM P.K. O’Handley felt MacArthur would make a big impact on his lone season in the USHL. “Well he’s a young guy that has an extreme amount of talent,” the coach said. “He plays the game hard, he’s not big in stature but he plays well for a smaller guy. He has very good vision on the ice and has the ability to make plays.”

MacArthur brings the potential for a high point count by the end of the season but O’Handley knows he brings more to the table than just offense. “He’s a great kid first of all. His character is second to none. He brings a lot of energy and blended with his hockey skills it was a very good package.” Although the USHL season is only a few weeks old, MacArthur has already gelled with his teammates and is becoming a presence off the ice while his on-ice game is heating up. “He’s a great team guy,” O’Handley said. “He’s funny when he has to be funny, he’s serious and he understands the necessity of playing hard and knows what that’s all about. For a new guy in the locker room, he’s a very good leader.”

Waterloo hasn’t started off quite the way he wanted to, but as his coach always says it’s not how you start, but how you finish. The forward has tallied two goals to go along with two assists in ten games this season. But he feels his best hockey is yet to come. He feels the competition in the USHL is second to none. “I think it’s awesome,” he said. “I was just down visiting Boston University (where he has a scholarship for next season), they told me I’m going to be a better player coming out of this league. Nobody can take a night off, everyone is battling. You have to be mentally ready.”

Waterloo has started off slow at 5-5-1 in defense of the Eastern Division title but MacArthur has high expectations for the remainder of the season. “I honestly think we can be the champions of this league. We’ve got the talent and the depth and coaching that is second to none. Anything less than a championship will be disappointing.” The forward also shows a mature side beyond his years, “It doesn’t matter to me how many points I get, I just want to be a plus player,” MacArthur added.

So, there is plenty of hockey to be played yet, 50 some games to be certain, not including the postseason. This season the league went to a new playoff format with the top four teams in each division locking up postseason berths. With O’Handley at the helm, MacArthur feels he’ll have a leg up on the other recruits heading to the Boston program next season. “It’s going to be unbelievable, the other recruits going to Boston are from prep school, Coach O’Handley is a very intense guy, he makes you take responsibility for everything you do. He isn’t going to let you off the hook. If I didn’t have that, I probably wouldn’t be going to college next year,” he said.

MacArthur expects to make some noise in a Terriers sweater next season but for now, he’ll continue to focus while he waits for his offensive touch to find him in Waterloo. “It’s coming, I can feel it coming.” MacArthur said. “We expected him to be a leader, we expect him to be one of our top point getters, those expectations are still there,” said O’Handley. As the season wears on and he gets more accustomed to the speed and skill of the USHL, you no doubt will see Peter MacArthur’s name in the box scores nightly.