Leafs’ McLaughlin drawn to Bulldogs winning program


A winning hockey program combined with small classes sizes made Adrian College the right fit for Nelson Leaf Ethan McLaughlin.

McLaughlin did a virtual tour to get a sense of what Adrian College, based in Adrian, Michigan, and their hockey program is about. The Bulldogs won a American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 1 national championship in 2017-18 and having a winning environment is attractive to the Penticton, B.C. product, who wants to keep his hockey career going. While playing, McLaughlin will study business management.


“On and off the ice, I will be able to better myself,” says McLaughlin. “Keep improving my skills, and advancing my game.”


Being part of a skilled Leafs roster helped McLaughlin boost his confidence, especially taking on a bigger role as a veteran player.

Being a veteran player on a team with a very deep line up, and high-end players really helped my game in Nelson,” says McLaughlin, who has played 79 games in the B.C. Hockey League, Alberta Junior Hockey League and Maritime Junior A Hockey League.

Leafs assistant coach Adam Dibella expects McLaughlin to fit in seamlessly with the Bulldogs.

“His hockey IQ is elite at any level,” says DiBella. “He studies the game and analyzes how he can be successful. The speed at which he processes the game will allow him to exceed expectations.” 

Between the Summerland Steam and Leafs, McLaughlin played 24 regular season games in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. His time in the KIJHL, combined with playing alongside close friends on strong teams, was also a factor in helping him get this opportunity.

“More playing time and opportunity helped showcase my game” he says. “The KIJHL is a great and fun league to play in and develop your skills. It is fast-paced hockey and I have really enjoyed my time in the league.”  

McLaughlin benefited from the Leafs coaching staff putting trust into him and the veteran players.

“Mario and Adam are great coaches who support all of the players and help move guys on to the next levels,” says McLaughlin.

“Ethan really became a leader during his time in Nelson. He was always in the ear of our younger defenseman giving tips and advice that he’d accumulated through his career,” says DiBella.