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Isles defenseman Donovan was born and raised where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plains

Apr 3, 2012, 1:56 PM EDT

Matt Donovan Getty Images

Defenseman Matt Donovan will become the first true Oklahoma product to play in the NHL when he suits up for the Islanders tonight in New Jersey.

Donovan, 21, was born in Edmond, OK. His father Larry, a Boston native who runs ice rinks in The Sooner State, got his son into hockey.

The Islanders drafted Donovan 96th overall in 2008. He won a gold medal with the United States at the 2010 World Juniors in Saskatchewan. So far this season he’s put up 42 points with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.

“It really hasn’t hit me that tonight is the night that I’m going to be playing my first NHL game, but I’m excited and ready to play,” Donovan told

According to, only three other NHLers have been born in Oklahoma – Tyler Arnason, Dan Woodley, and Burr Williams, the latter of whom played in the 1930s.

However, Arnason grew up in Winnipeg and Woodley was only born in OK because his dad, Dave, played for the Oklahoma City Blazers at the time.

Not sure what Williams’ story was, but with a name like Burr, we bet it was colorful.


  1. bcisleman - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Should add that Matt gives every indication of being a VERY GOOD defenseman for many years to come. He demonstrates why it is vital for a rebuilding team to draft well in the later rounds. 2009 12th overall pick Calvin De Haan is struggling in his development partly due to injuries. Who knows when, if ever, he will become an NHL regular–much less Mark Streit’s replacement? But Donovan, a 2008 4th rounder, now seems ready for the NHL and–if his AHL numbers are an indication–a likely successor to Streit.

  2. 4cupsinarow - Apr 3, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    It’s about time!… Hopefully the Eaton, Staios, and Jurcina era is almost over. Move over to the slow, inept, grit less, offensively and for that matter defensively lacking blue liners and hello to the exact opposite( and pretty dynamic ) Matt Donovan!
    Good luck on your first of hopefully many NHL games for the Isles!

  3. pavelfitzgerald - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    An interesting story. I’m excited to see how it plays out

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