Eric McCabe signs to play with Grey Highlands Hawks

Eric McCabe will take his All-State credentials and play junior hockey for the Grey Highlands Hawks. — Athina Bellios photo
Eric McCabe will take his All-State credentials and play junior hockey for the Grey Highlands Hawks. — Athina Bellios photo

Eric McCabe has signed to play in the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League with the Grey Highlands Hawks.

“It really all happened so quick,” said the  5-foot-9, 165-pound two-way player for coach Greg Maxey’s Trumbull High Eagles. “Alex Magi, the director of recruiting for the Hawks, found me on a hockey prospect’s site and decided to send me a message on facebook.

"Coach Magi was very good and helped me through all the questions my family and I had. We talked for a week or two and then had a phone conference, which pretty much sealed the deal for my family and the Hawks.”

The Grey Highlands Hawks are a United Hockey Union-sanctioned junior ice hockey team from Markdale, Ontario, Canada. They began play in the 2016–17 season. A year ago, the Hawks played 44 regular season games before losing in the playoffs 5-4.

“I’m really excited about adding Eric to our roster for the upcoming season,” Hawks’ head coach Brad Tichbourne said. “When recruiting for our team we look for smart hockey players that can play a 200-foot game and McCabe fits that bill.

“After speaking with his coach we confirmed our that our initial observations were correct and jumped on the opportunity to sign him. McCabe will be expected to step in and fill a role with a experienced and skilled team.”

Magi added: “My initial thoughts on Eric after speaking with him and his family, was the type of person he is. He comes from a great family, which was evident in how supportive they were with Eric coming to Canada to play hockey.

“During my recruiting the three main qualities I look for in players are their hockey sense, their skating ability and the character of the player. From watching video and our conversations with coach Maxey, we knew right away that he would be a great fit within the Hawks organization. I feel coach Tichbourne will really help Eric’s development both on and off the ice.”

McCabe played four years of varsity and earned All-State honors as a senior.

“Eric is perhaps one of the most versatile and gritty players I've had the opportunity to coach in my twenty-plus seasons with the Eagles,” Maxey said of Trumbull’s Hobey Baker High School Character Award. “He has played both forward and defense for us — and has been equally proficient at both ends of the ice.

“Eric has a rare mix of skill and toughness, with the great ability to get opponents off their game. “He is a great kid that always put his team first. I think this is a great opportunity for Eric to test himself and shows his level of commitment and passion for the game.”

McCabe was voted captain and finished this past season with 15 points and 40 penalty minutes in 20 games.

“I was supposed to go to Southern Connecticut State University, but I feel like this can open a door to many more opportunities than just playing club hockey and attending school,” McCabe said.

“Coach Maxey is probably one of the most influential coaches in my career. Hands down, he deserves a coach of the year (award) and another state championship with him behind the bench. I play a style that is not easy for a coach to like, but he let me play how I play and taught me how to stay within the boundaries.

“I’ll always remember what he told me throughout my four years: ‘Get to the edge of the cliff, but don’t fall off,” McCabe said. “He was basically just telling me that I could play how I play as long as it benefits the team. I loved my time at Trumbull High.”