When something exciting and monumental happens in your life, sometimes it
can take a moment for it to sink in. That was the case for Donovan McCoy
when he saw his name pop up on the TV announcing his selection as the 15th
pick in the 2020 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) draft.
“My dad kind of jumped on me because he got it a bit early,” McCoy says.
“It didn’t really hit me until everyone started celebrating and then I
The celebration was quickly followed by a phone call from Peterborough
Petes general manager Michael Oke to congratulate McCoy.
“Those probably were the most exciting 15-20 minutes I’ve ever had,” he
The excitement of the moment was not lost on McCoy’s siblings. The love of
hockey runs deep in his family, with three of his five siblings also
playing the game.
Rheydan, who is nine months older than McCoy, has played alongside his
brother frequently growing up. They became interested in hockey after
spending time at rinks with their dad, Norman McCoy, since he does arena
maintenance for the recreation department with the City of Belleville.
“(Rheydan’s) playing in Napanee, going to a few junior camps,” the
16-year-old says. “He might have a longer road, but I talk to him all the
time and I tell him it’s not impossible to get here.”
His sister, 11-year-old Kalysia, has a great hockey mind and uses her
height to her advantage in her age group, according to McCoy.
“If she keeps trying, she can do whatever she wants, hopefully make it to
[Team Canada] or even play at higher levels for women’s hockey.”
Ten-year-old Brycen really admires his older brother. In fact, he even
chose to wear the same number as McCoy when he played for the Quinte Red
“My younger brother, he follows me and does a lot of things that I do,”
McCoy says. “He’s always asking me about different guys on Peterborough, or
even with the [National Men’s Under-18 Team summer development camp], I
know when I get home, he’s going to have a whole questionnaire for me to
His other two siblings, 22-year-old Anthony Aylesworth and six-year-old
Adria, are the only ones who do not play hockey, but Adria is expected to
hit the ice when she’s older. With the family following in his footsteps,
McCoy is very aware of the impact he has not only as an big brother, but
also as a mentor.
“I feel like I’m (a coach) for my younger siblings, just being able to
teach them things here and there, even if we’re at home or on the ice with
each other,” he says. “I just feel like a big role model, almost like a
For families that have multiple hockey players, there’s a lot of planning
and sacrifices involved—something Norman McCoy knows all too well.
“There were some weekends, especially two years ago, if you’d seen our
calendar on the fridge, they were all colour-coded for each child and it
was just a rainbow of colours from Sunday to Sunday,” Norman says.
Faced with four unique hockey schedules to balance, Norman is very grateful
for the support of family and friends in the hockey community. Having a
village of supportive people has made it easier to make sure every child is
where they need to be.
“When they say that [it takes a village], it’s not being cliché, it’s very
true,” he says. “You need good people around you to help you do it,
especially families that have multiple kids in hockey. You can only be in
one place at one time.”
Of course, the balancing act can be tough at times. Sometimes personal time
for Norman and McCoy’s stepmom, Tammy, got pushed to the side to allow for
driving to tournaments and first periods of games have been missed from
juggling other schedules. But for Norman, he would do it all again in a
“Seeing where they all ended up and where the rest are going, as the
journey is still kind of taking off for them… it was definitely sacrifices
Those sacrifices are not lost on McCoy, either. He’s very grateful to have
support from his dad, his stepmom, his mom Lisa Aylesworth, his stepdad Ron
Anderson and all of his siblings.
“It really means everything to me just knowing that they’re there, right
with me,” McCoy says. “I’m just glad that they were willing to take those
sacrifices and help me get to where I am today.”
Although it has been more than a year since McCoy was drafted by the Petes,
the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed his OHL debut. During the extended
off-season, McCoy went to the gym, got on the ice when he could and worked
with trainers to complete summer programs to stay in game shape.
“It was really hard at first,” he says. “I had to really train my mind to
not be down on myself as the season kept getting pushed back or cancelled.
I had to keep looking at the positives on what I was doing, just being
hopeful that something will come eventually.”
The pandemic also provided some extra family time before McCoy leaves for
Peterborough. It’s important that he takes time to show his support to his
siblings, so whenever he didn’t have hockey, McCoy says he would be out
cheering them on at their games.
“You couldn’t ask for a better relationship between all these kids
together,” Norman says.
Back at home, McCoy helps his younger siblings with schoolwork, makes
lunches and spends time playing together, whether it’s video games or
“I think I’m still undefeated in my family,” he says of his mini-stick
career. “I don’t think any of them will beat me, so I’ll probably be
undefeated for a little bit longer.”
With the OHL on track to return in October, McCoy is looking forward to
finally playing with his new teammates at the Petes’ training camp. His
family has already planned a road trip to see his exhibition games and home
But one of McCoy’s favourite parts about playing in Peterborough? It’s only
a 90-minute drive away from his home in Belleville.
“My friends have been bugging me saying that they’re going to be coming
down to Peterborough a lot since it’s close. That’s always a good thing to
know that I got my friends and my family just down the highway from me that
are always there supporting me.”