By Erica Whyte (published on June 14, 2019)
If you’ve been to a Rochester Americans game in the last two seasons, chances are you have witnessed Andrew MacWilliam delivering some hits on opponents while being one of the more physical defensemen on the ice.
“We had a great year,” said the 29-year-old veteran, who tallied 10 points (3+7) and 90 penalty minutes in 66 games during his second season in Rochester. “I think we did a lot of good things, individually and as a team.”
Using his brute strength and physicality, the 6-foot-2, 223-pound defenseman has spent the last two years patrolling the Rochester blueline, often sacrificing both his face and body in the process. Since joining the Amerks prior to the 2017-18 campaign, the Calgary, Alberta, native has established himself as a leader both on the ice and in the locker room.
According to MacWilliam, who served as assistant captain for the second consecutive year, the effectiveness of the Amerks leadership group stems from the longstanding relationship that the squad has had with each other.
“It started last year,” MacWilliam explained of Rochester’s leadership core, most of whom have been with the team for at least two seasons. “We all kind of came together, and right from the get-go it seemed to make sense. I think we have kind of built on those friendships and it’s obviously helped with the success of our team.”
WATCH: ANDREW MACWILLIAM YEAR-END INTERVIEW
And after seven seasons of professional hockey, MacWilliam takes that leadership role very seriously.
When asked about the most rewarding aspects of the season, MacWilliam, who made his NHL debut during the 2014-15 season with Toronto Maple Leafs,insisted that seeing the young players live out their dreams was at the top of that list.
“Seeing the young guys develop and a lot of those guys get their shot up in Buffalo,” he said on locker cleanout day. “As an older guy, that’s always fun to see.”
Looking into the summer, MacWilliam will be heading back to his hometown and will take a few weeks to relax before beginning his off-season training.
“I'll look to getting quicker, still trying to get stronger, and kind of fine-tune things in my game.”