Former Boston Bruins and current Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Donato made it clear in a recent one-on-one with Boston Hockey Now that he holds no ill will for his former team.
The team Donato’s father Ted once played for and that he grew up cheering for, stunned the Scituate, MA native when they traded him and a 2019 fourth round draft pick to the Wild in exchange for forward and Weymouth, MA native Charlie Coyle five days before the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. While it took him a bit to get over the trade and realizing he wouldn’t play out his NHL career at home, Donato still wanted to see his former teammates succeed. In fact, as he pointed out at a recent charity event, The Corey Griffin Foundation Happy Hour (honoring the late Corey Griffin, a local hockey player, and philanthropist who tragically drown back in 2014), Donato knew that trade and Coyle could help propel the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final.
“No absolutely not,” Donato said when asked if the Bruins’ run to the Final was hard to watch for him. “To be honest, after the trade happened, I knew that they were going to be a contender for the Stanley Cup and obviously you never know it’s going to go to Game 7 in Boston, and that would’ve been like a dream come true, but at the end of the day, hopefully, I can do that for myself one day, no matter if it’s in Boston or another city.
Donato adjusted fine on the ice for the Wild as he had four goals and 12 assists in 22 games after the trade. Unfortunately, the Wild didn’t make the postseason but Donato has had time to adjust to the more laid back lifestyle and ‘Minnesota Nice’ culture in the ‘State of Hockey’. That being said, he’ll always be a Bostonian!
“First of all, Boston’s my home so it was tough at the beginning,” Donato acknowledged. “But Minnesota did a great job of welcoming me with open arms. They’re very very kind people out there. You always hear the term ‘Minnesota nice’ and that phrase didn’t disappoint. I mean, everybody was super nice out there and it made the transition really easy. It went well hockey wise, but it would’ve been nice to make the playoffs, but I’m excited to see what we can do next year.”
Donato still has plenty of friends around the Boston hockey scene and on his former team. In fact, he and Coyle have gone from acquaintances to friends, as Coyle reached out to give him advice on the Wild and adapting to life in Minnesota.
“I grew up with a lot of these guys – I’ve been playing with ‘Wags’ [Chris Wagner] and ‘Gryzz’ [Matt Grzelcyk] and some of these guys became my best friends,” Donato said. “Coyle too, and Charlie McAvoy. So I wanted to make sure I wished the best for those guys. Obviously, they fell short but I’m sure they’ll have plenty of other chances.”
As for his new team, Donato admitted that after missing the playoffs and then seeing the general manager who traded for him, Paul Fenton, get fired back on July 30, he was surprised is not exactly sure what the future holds for him and his teammates, but was sure to credit Fenton, a Springfield, MA native for all he did in the aftermath of the trade.
“Yeah, but Paul was great to me,” Donato said when asked if he was caught off guard by the firing. “You just never know because it’s a business and we’ll see what happens.”