There were no ice rinks or sportsplexes in Bamfield, a fishing village of 300 people in Vancouver Island, B.C., when Maryna Macdonald was growing up. But that didn’t deter her. Together with her cousin Connor Logan, who was four years older and a budding ice hockey standout, Macdonald played on driveways or the street, and developed a love for the game.
That love continued when Macdonald’s family moved to a bigger city, Port Alberni, where she joined an ice hockey league at age 8, the only girl on her team. And it has taken her more than 3,000 miles away from home to Harvard, where she is a defender on the Women’s Ice Hockey team. Harvard scouted her when she was in 10th grade.
An environmental science and public policy concentrator, Macdonald ’22 is a member of the Ditidaht First Nation, one of 634 aboriginal groups of Canada’s First Nations. When she looks back at her trajectory, she marvels at how far she has come and dreams about how much further she can go.
“I’m a small-town girl who grew up in a fishing village who didn’t even know about college hockey,” reminisced Macdonald at the Boynton Lounge in the Bright-Landry Hockey Center on an afternoon before the University evacuated students and moved classes online to prevent the spread of coronavirus in mid-March. “If I decide to continue with hockey, I’ve been thinking I could go abroad to Sweden or back to Canada, or the pro league here in the United States, but if that doesn’t happen, I’m hoping to go to law school.”
Back then, Macdonald focused on her studies and her squad, spending most of her free time at the rink. She practiced two or four hours on weekdays, and competed on Fridays and Saturdays. Now, back at Port Alberni, she keeps busy working remotely as an intern for the Massachusetts Attorney’s General Office and planning her own hockey camp for young girls, ages 5-13, to promote the game in her hometown.
When the season was canceled due to the pandemic, Macdonald had scored four goals, with 15 assists, and has appeared in 54 games. The Women’s Ice Hockey Twitter account featured her goals against Dartmouth and Rensselaer, both clean and powerful shots from the point. The Crimson finished fourth behind Cornell, Princeton, and Clarkson in the Eastern College Athletic Conference.
Macdonald came to Harvard with bronze medals under her belt, two with Team British Columbia at the U18 Women’s National Championship in 2016 and 2017, and the other with Indigenous Team British Columbia at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in 2017.