At nearly 37, former Shen star MacArthur still young at heart with Adirondack Thunder

Pete MacArthur of the Adirondack Thunder brings the puck up ice during a game at Cool Insuring Arena this season.

Pete MacArthur of the Adirondack Thunder brings the puck up ice during a game at Cool Insuring Arena this season.

GLENS FALLS – Who needs this aggravation?

Pete MacArthur will turn 37 in June, he and his wife Cristina have two young sons, and shortly after he returned from a punctured lung and three broken ribs, the Adirondack Thunder’s captain missed another week when he broke a finger blocking a shot. 

So, who needs this?

Well, Pete MacArthur does.

It would seem reasonable for the oldest player on the Thunder roster to hang up the skates and call it a career, which began on the pro level way back in 2007 with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

But the “R” word – retirement – draws a smile and a shake of the head from the 5-foot-10 wing, who starred for his father, Bill, for two seasons at Shenendehowa and went on to play four seasons at Boston University under head coach Jack Parker.

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Anyway, MacArthur still has plenty to offer the sport of hockey, and it still has plenty to offer him, so the speedy lefty isn’t ready to consider an end to his playing days.

“My wife would probably want me to say yes [to retirement],” MacArthur said on Feb. 10 at Cool Insuring Arena. “I really can’t say anything more than I just love this game, and I’m appreciative of all the opportunities that myself and family have had from the game. And I seem to love it more every year.”

“They told him they want him to keep playing until the wheels fall off,” Bill MacArthur said by phone.

Despite missing some time with the injuries, Pete MacArthur is the second-leading scorer on the Thunder, with 28 points on six goals and a team-leading 22 assists.

He has mostly been playing on a line with veteran Shane Harper and former Union College standout Sebastian Vidmar (Vidmar’s Union teammate Alex Sakellaropoulos is also playing for Adirondack).

“He’s 36 years old, and he’s out there in the corners, battling, giving his body up,” Vidmar said. “As a young guy, he’s the guy you should look up to, in terms of taking care of your body, because he’s doing it. There’s so much to pick up from that.”

So the speed and skill are still there, and MacArthur’s experience is a bonus for the Thunder. 

And MacArthur takes care of his body, because hockey won’t do that for him.

He broke the ribs and punctured his lung when he got crunched between Vidmar and an opposing player, then was only back for about a week before breaking his finger.

“Got a little unlucky with that one [ribs/lung],” MacArthur said. “Just a run-of-the-mill play. I got cross-checked from behind, and actually Vids was backing up into the same area, and I got pinched in between those two guys, popped my lung on the impact. So I came back and broke my finger. It’s crazy.”

MacArthur played two years for his father at Shen, then two years at Northwood Prep in Lake Placid before a solid four-year college career at Boston University.

He went undrafted by the NHL and signed as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks organization in 2009, spending two seasons with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford Ice Hogs.

MacArthur scored 14 goals with 11 assists his first season and went 8-34-42 in his second. In 190 career AHL games over parts of five seasons, MacArthur had 29 goals and 57 assists.

The NHL call-up he craved never happened.

“That was the goal,” Bill MacArthur said. “His first team was Chicago, and he was their [Rockford] Rookie of the Year, and then the next year he produced, like, 20 more points than he did the first year.

“However, he scored 14 goals [in 2008-09]. They were looking for a guy close to 30, because that team went on to win three Stanley Cups. And they had guys like Pete. Now, if Pete was 6-[foot-]3, 210 [pounds], 220, with his skill, I think he would’ve had a chance to get to that team, or go to another one. But those guys were loaded.”

Instead, MacArthur bounced around the AHL, ECHL and Europe, where he played for Augsburger Panther, the Vienna Capitals, Graz 99ers and, in 2019-20, HC Pustertal Wolfe, a pro club in Italy that is a member of the Alps Hockey League.

This is his second stint with Adirondack of the ECHL, playing for the Thunder for two seasons from 2015-17.

“In college, the Beanpot was pretty cool, won three of those,” MacArthur said. “Went through a couple championships in pro. Lost in the final in this league with Vegas, lost in the final in the Austrian League with Vienna …”

One of his fondest memories, though, didn’t come in the college or pro ranks.

MacArthur scored the game-winning goal for Team USA, coached by Parker, who had just retired from BU, in a 7-4 victory over Germany to win the Deutschland Cup in 2013.

“Cross-and-drop play with Chad Kolarik, and he hit me in the high slot for a goal against Germany,” MacArthur said. “It was the only goal I scored for Team USA. Only time I got a chance to play for them in an international tournament. Super fun. Very cool to be a part of, even though I was on the bench most of the time.”

Bill MacArthur said Pete emulated his brother, Trevor, nine years older, and also a star at Shen.

The difference between the two, Bill said, is that while Trevor branched out to other sports and interests, “Peter is … hockey,” Bill said. “He’s never been a big goal scorer. He’s been a guy who knows how to play the game, play 200 feet and really plays well on special teams.

“He really takes care of himself. He watches what he eats. He has a Coca-Cola occasionally. He does his due diligence before practice, after practice, after every game, everything possible to keep himself going. He’s a real professional.”

“Passion. Just love it,” said Pete, whose captaincy puts him in position to serve as a buffer between the Thunder coaches and players. “I love every part of it, even the ups and downs. It’s  fun to have a challenge, to know you’ve got to come back from something. Being in the locker room with the guys and having an influence with the knowledge that you’ve had the opportunity to gain. It’s a lot of fun to share that with guys. And I just love to compete. I love that competition aspect of the game. I just love it.”

His wife doesn’t love the injuries, he said.

When everything is physically right, though, MacArthur is “as fast as anyone on that team,” Bill said.

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If anything ever chases Pete MacArthur out of the game, it probably won’t be because he’s lost a step.

“He’s got young legs, but in terms of experience and the skill he carries and the pace he plays at, it’s like he’s been out there forever, but he still has the speed of [someone] just coming out,” Vidmar said.

“Have I lost a step, Pivver?” MacArthur called over to Thunder communications and broadcasting director Evan Pivnick from the arena tunnel.

“He looks great. As always,” Pivnick said.

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