BostonBruins.com — Goaltender Zane McIntyre has changed over the course of the last five years.
Since being drafted by the Bruins in sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft, he has gotten bigger and he has gotten stronger — by 30 or 36 pounds, by his estimation. He has become more mature. He has become more reliable and more skilled.
And, of course, something else about him has changed, too: His surname, which he switched from Gothberg to McIntyre at the end of this past summer.
“Just kind of felt like the right time to do it,” McIntyre said.
Two years ago, Gothberg’s maternal grandmother passed away. She was, in his words, a big influence on his life. That, coupled with the fact that his sister got married and his mother got remarried, made it seem like the right time to make the change.
“No one was left to carry on the McIntyre name, and my grandma was such an influence on me, just personally in my daily life, and then obviously with hockey, too,” he said. “Growing up, we’d go to tournaments and travel around the country together. I think kind of being here at [the University of North Dakota] just sparked a lot of memories and stuff, too — going to the building where she used to work, and just hanging out and stuff, and it just felt like the right thing to do.”
When McIntyre’s name comes up, one of the first words that comes to mind — whether it is his teammates, his coaches or his mentors within the Boston Bruins organization — is leadership. On the ice and off the ice, McIntyre thrives on serving as a vocal presence, as a role model, as a through-and-through good person.
Leadership is simply a part of McIntyre’s identity.
“I have really enjoyed watching Zane mature as a person, and as a hockey player,” said Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney. “He has an infectious personality, and five years ago, when he arrived at development camp, he had some ‘class clown’ to his makeup to go along with his raw talent. His emergence — as both a vocal and lead-by-example-type teammate, has been a progression over the past few years.
“He led his team to the door step of a Collegiate National championship last year, and despite the obvious disappointment in not winning, his resolve to return to North Dakota and lead his team back to the Tournament was what spoke volumes to me about the level of Zane's character and maturity.”
As the stakes got higher during the 2013-14 postseason, McIntyre got better. That, Sweeney said, is part of what makes him such a special player. For his teammates, McIntyre’s enthusiasm and passion are infectious.
“He still thrives on being lighthearted,” Sweeney said, “but he also knows he can ramp up his focus and intensity when needed. You have to admire goalies that want the net and the challenge of the bigger stage, and Zane seems to thrive on both.”
Given his proclivity toward a leadership role, perhaps it’s no coincidence that McIntyre gravitated toward goaltending. Though he can’t necessarily “get in guys’ ears” when he’s between the pipes, he finds other ways to make an impact: by being that lead-by-example kind of player Sweeney mentioned, and by serving as a calming influence on his teammates.
“Being a goaltender,” he said, “it’s your specific job to stop the puck when all hell breaks loose. It’s your job — last resort — to stop the puck. So I think in that respect, you really can’t cheerlead and ‘rah rah’ — you’ve got to kind of man up and lead by example that way.”
Now entering his junior season at North Dakota, McIntyre has grown into his leadership role on and off the ice. After backstopping his team to a Frozen Four appearance last season, he has one goal in mind for this one: Get right back to the Frozen Four, and this time, capture a national championship.
“I think every guy in our locker room knows that we want to win the national championship this year, and it’s just a process,” he said. “I think our veteran leadership will have a lot of influence this year. I think that’s probably the main thing that will help us as a team because we know our systems, we know what Coach [Dave Hakstol] expects as a team. So if we can just continue to develop and to play that perfect game every night within our structure and within our team, I think we could be pretty scary and pretty deadly at the end of the year.”