A True Leader: Colin McQuade’s leadership skills show both on and off the ice

In the CPIHL, there is one award that is sought after by many, but only a select few each year have the chance to say they were a finalist for it. That award is the CPIHL Justin Yingling Memorial Award, and one of the three finalists for the award in 2023 is Colin McQuade.

Donning the West Shore Ice Hockey Club jersey, McQuade showed exactly what the award is all about day in and day out. The award recognized a player who shows outstanding dedication, performance and commitment to excellence both on and off the ice, and McQuade’s coaches will tell you he excels in all these areas. 

He’s been playing hockey since the age of 4, and moreover he has been playing goalie for a majority of those years. It is the toughest position in hockey, but McQuade is not one to back down from a challenge.

That would explain why he played for so many travel hockey teams – Capital City Vipers, Hershey Jr. Bears, Palmyra Black Knights, and he spent four years on the York Devils. This year was also McQuade’s third year as the starting varsity goaltender for West Shore, and each year his teammates have taken to his leadership.  

“I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Colin for the last two seasons,” Head Coach Todd Ringling said. “He is dedicated to both the success of the team and that of his individual teammates. He is always prepared for games, takes instruction, always works hard and rarely misses a practice, even with a heavy travel hockey schedule and extracurricular school activities.”

McQuade leads by example and is not afraid to put the team on his back. He makes it a point to show up to as many practices as physically possible, and that is because he wants to show his commitment to his team and his teammates. He never wants them to feel like he cares less about them and the team than his travel team, and that is one of the many things that makes him a solid teammate.

Well, that and his ability to step up as a leader game in and game out. He might be a goalie, but that does not stop McQuade from being vocal and taking players under his wing.

“Colin is viewed as a leader by his teammates and works with them individually to improve their skills,” Ringling said. “Colin and I talk before, after, and during practice and games. He provides me with input relating to our game plan and specific plays he sees the other team running. This input helps us make in-game adjustments.”

McQuade has a knack and an eye for the game. He sees things on another level, and he is just a natural hockey player.

He also wears an A on his chest, which is an honor in and of itself. But to wear it as a goalie is very rare, but it is a well-deserved honor for such a special hockey player.

“This is his second year serving in this role,” Ringling said. “He is not the typical ‘inspirational speech’ type of leader. His leadership is by example off the ice and by his battle level during games. He is very even-keeled; more of a ‘people listen when he speaks’ kind of leader.”

One example Ringing gave of this is the fact that McQuade took extra time with three new players who were struggling to grasp different plays and coverages that seem like basics to someone who grew up playing hockey. But rather than belittling them or making them feel bad, he spent time with them and helped them learn these things.

He never gives up on his team either. He battles game in and game out, even when they are getting outshot by a lot. He not only has a calm demeanor, but he also encourages his teammates and tries his best to not get flustered by them

“He is a rock for our team,” Ringling said.

McQuade’s leadership and performance go hand-in-hand.

For example, last year West Shore was a mid-level team playing in a tough division. They went 6-12 and McQuade played 870 minutes while facing 661 shots and having a save percentage of 0.868. He was fourth in saves made (571), and while his stats might not be as glamorous as some might think, he faced a lot of shots in the slot with minimal defensive help.

He is top three in many major categories this year as well, and he is third in Viola with a 0.907 save percentage. He stepped it up to a new level for his final season, and his coaches could not be prouder.

And when McQuade is not on the ice, he can be seen serving his local community.

“He serves Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Camp Hill as an acolyte and has worked as kitchen staff for their community dinners,” Ringling said. “He is a Life Rank in Boy Scouts with over 50 merit badges and is currently raising funds for his Eagle Scout project.  Academically, he is a National Honor Society inductee and will be pursuing Mechanical Engineering at Penn State Harrisburg in the fall of 2023.”

McQuade is clearly a leader by example both on and off the ice, and he leaves little to the doubt about deserving to be named one of the Yingling Award finalists.

A True Leader

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