He isn’t a big scorer or a flashy player. But 1999 birth year forward Christian James-McDonald is quietly playing an effective role for the Hearst Lumberjacks of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
As Hearst heads into a three-game road trip this weekend in third place in the NOJHL East with 51 points from a record of 23-14-5, James-McDonald has gone about his business as a shutdown forward.
Offensively, the 6-foot, 170-pound skater has five goals, seven assists, 12 points in 37 games for the Lumberjacks.
Hearst coach-general manager Marc Lafleur likes what he has in the smooth skater who hails from the Greater Toronto Area.
“He wasn’t really known when we obtained him (from the Mississauga Chargers of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League),” Lafleur said of James-McDonald. “But he got his opportunity here and he has made the most of it from the moment he arrived.”
Lafleur said there is much that James-McDonald brings to the Lumberjacks.
”He has a great work ethic and is extremely versatile … he can fill many roles,” Lafleur relayed. “He is a great skater and penalty killer and is not afraid of getting into the scrums. He wins many of his battles and is quiet but when he speaks, his teammates listen.”
Of note, James-McDonald is the son of Angela James, who is considered the first superstar of modern women’s hockey. She was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 and into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
She is currently the senior sports co-ordinator at Seneca College in Toronto.