Pens Elite youth hockey program sends record number of local players to USHL

December 23, 2018 - Pittsburgh Penguins Elite at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Shawn O’Donnell is only a sophomore at North Catholic High School, but he had plenty of celebrating to do on Senior Night.

O’Donnell had two goals and an assist in the lacrosse team’s win against Greensburg Central Catholic on May 7, then fell asleep on the car ride home. He woke up to a slew of congratulatory messages from his friends — only they weren’t talking about the lacrosse game.

About five minutes later, the Crescent Township native received a call from Omaha Lancers head coach David Wilkie, whose team had just selected him in the fourth round of the 2019 United States Hockey League draft.

“It was unreal,” O’Donnell said. “All my childhood dreams are coming true, because this has been a goal of mine for a few years now. I finally got that call. Seeing my name up there, it was an amazing experience. I don’t even know how to describe it.”