Bobby McMann Signs with AHL’s Toronto Marlies

Colgate men’s ice hockey senior forward and captain Bobby McMann signed a two-year contract with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL) on April 2. He became the first Raider to sign with a professional hockey organization at that level right out of school since Ryan Johnston in 2015, who signed with the Montreal Canadiens.

After the coronavirus pandemic abruptly ended Colgate’s season in the middle of an ECAC tournament run, McMann looked to the AHL for the next step in his hockey career.  Once school moved online, McMann discussed with his agent the options that were on the table for continuing his hockey career. In his final season with Colgate, the captain led the Raiders with exceptional performance, boasting 20 points in 34 games this season. 

There were several teams interested in McMann, but Toronto’s reputation for turning AHL players into NHL mainstays solidified McMann’s decision to sign with the Marlies. Maple Leafs forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Zach Hyman first developed as members of the Marlies before making the jump.

“I’m super excited because they have such great staff there and so many great people in that organization,” McMann said. “They have shown to make great professionals out of players who have played in the American League, and these players have gone on to the NHL, so I’m super excited about that.”

The Wainwright, Alberta native was on the radar of the Maple Leafs organization since last summer, when he trained at a Power Edge Pro hockey camp in Toronto alongside NHL stars such as Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid and the up-and-coming New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes.

“There were a lot of NHL guys there, guys who you hear their names a lot on television.  Getting to train with those guys and watching the intent to which they practice with was amazing, even in the middle of the summer when the season was months away. It was all about seeing what it takes to get that next level,” McMann said.

For McMann, getting to that next level will be all about focusing on each day as it comes, with the ultimate goal of eventually making it to the NHL.

“I want to get better every day and become more of a professional every day. I’m moving from college to the professional game. I want to understand what it takes to be the best professional that I can and hopefully play at that elite level where eventually I’m playing in the NHL,” he said.

The Raiders finished the shortened 2019-2020 season with an overall record of 12-16-8.  The team finished the campaign with a sweep of Brown University in the first round of the ECAC tournament, including a 3-2 overtime win in the team’s final game. McMann’s class was the first class to play all four years at Colgate’s Class of 1965 Arena, and the overtime win to clinch the best of three series was the highlight of his senior season.

“You never think your season is going to end like that, but ending it with a win at home, in overtime, was really specialespecially considering we were the first freshman class to play at the Class of 1965 Arena,” McMann said. “I know we’ll all cherish that for a really long time.”

McMann finished his Colgate hockey career with a total of 92 points in 145 games played.

As he transitions from college life to professional hockey, McMann is thankful for the memories and friendships he has made at Colgate.

“This place has grown me so much as a person. I’ve developed in so many ways, mentally and with my ability to interact with people. I’ve learned to treat people the right way and to live on my own. Just the process of learning all four years, I’m really glad I got to experience that,” he said.