Despite a two-year difference in age, two former Ironmen have made immediate impacts at the collegiate level with their respective clubs this season. While Michael Forgione and CJ McGee’s path to hockey on the college level has been very different, each are focused on making the most out of their first years.
After being part of the State Championship team in 2019, Michael Forgione ‘19 wanted to continue playing hockey collegiately. When a few opportunities presented themselves, Michael chose to carve his own path and join a first year NCAA Division 3 program, Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT.
“Albertus Magnus gave me a great opportunity to play right away, while fulfilling my academic goals,” said Michael, a three-year varsity letterman at Don Bosco. “Stepping into a first-year program at Albertus allowed me to help build the culture and foundation of this team and it’s a challenge I’ll look forward to throughout my four years at AMC”.
Albertus Magnus currently plays an independent schedule, but there have been some bumps in the road as has been expected with any new program. However, Michael’s time at Don Bosco has prepared him well, “all the key components that the coaching staff at Bosco stressed, being a good teammate, having a strong work ethic, being prepared to play each night, has helped guide me during my first year.” Forgione continued, “We skate six times a week, plus off ice workouts and film twice a week, so its been an adjustment, but playing at Bosco really helped prepare me for the grind.”
So far, Michael has played 17 games and recently tallied his first NCAA goal in a 5-2 win over King’s College and has also added 2 assists.
For former four-year varsity letterman and Ironmen Captain, CJ McGee ‘17, the path to NCAA hockey has been a little different. Following a successful career as an Ironmen, which saw CJ total 40 points (6g, 34a) in 77 games, he played on the 18U North Jersey Avalanche and then went onto play for the Shreveport Mudbugs of the NAHL. Logging 56 games for the Mudbugs, CJ recorded 43 points (10g, 33a) before joining Division 1 Quinnipiac University this past year.
“One of my favorite moments playing at Don Bosco was being able to start a hockey game with my four cousins, Ryan and Liam McLinskey, Will Fortescue and Hunter McGee,” said CJ, “It was a family affair out there for a shift or two, but its something that will probably never be able to do again until an alumni game.”
With several offers to play college hockey, CJ ultimately settled on Quinnipiac because of the coaching staff, trainers, winning culture, academics and top-notch facility. “I couldn’t ask for a better place to continue my academic and athletic experiences,” said McGee. One thing that has helped CJ prepare for the rigors of Division 1 college athletics was the brotherhood at Don Bosco. “At Bosco playing as team and being there for each other is everything. Those characteristics are also key to being successful in juniors and college hockey.”
Playing an ECAC schedule is extremely demanding and a typical week at Quinnipiac for McGee consists of being at the rink Monday thru Thursday, 9 am to 2 pm. “Managing a full academic schedule in addition to those workouts requires planning your time wisely,” says CJ, whose played in 17 of Quinnipiac’s 26 games so far, scoring 2 assists and being a +4 player. With classes typically in the late afternoon and early evening, there’s little time left in the day other than for hockey. “We’re together a lot, so we’re always building team chemistry, and Friday’s and Saturday’s we typically all have team breakfast, video and pre-game skate, followed by a team meal, then back at the rink for games.”
As both players first seasons near a close, each reflected on the positive experiences that Bosco Hockey has prepared them for. “Our first season as a program has been a great learning experience for me both personally and athletically but playing at Bosco taught me how to handle the unique situations that you may face each season,” said Forgione. CJ echoed those thoughts as well, “I experienced both highs and lows at Don Bosco, but facing that adversity made me a better a player in the long run. Those experiences have proved invaluable especially when the post season rolls around.”
Congrats to both Michael and CJ on a successful first year campaign and keeping making Don Bosco Hockey proud!