If you don’t know them from the Wisconsin Badgers Men’s hockey team, you might know Ryder and Shay Donovan from TikTok or their take on the five puck challenge.
Despite their three year age difference, the Donovans were both incoming freshmen for the Badgers this past season, having played high school hockey in their hometown of Duluth, Minnesota. Before coming to Wisconsin, Shay skated for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights of the NAHL. Ryder, the younger of the two, was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights. On and off the ice, both Ryder and Shay are integral members of the Badger’s tight-knit roster. They’re undoubtedly two of the biggest personalities in college hockey.
What’s been the highlight of your summer so far?
Shay: To make it quotable, being back in Madison with the boys. A couple fishing trips too, and some good trips with the family. Some good bonding time, taking advantage of some months that maybe we wouldn’t have had because of corona.
Ryder: Probably the same thing, it was nice to be back home for a little bit, but then it was nice to get away from home after a while, it kinda just got boring. There were good times back home with friends and family then Dylan Holloway came down for a week before coming [to Madison] and quarantined with us, so that was nice. It’s really good though to be back in Madison with the boys.
Shay: The school, the coaches, the culture, and the group that we have. You feel like you have a chance to do something special here.
Ryder: Yeah. That’s a great cookie-cutter answer so we’re gonna go with that one. Pencil me in.
Being Minnesota natives, how do you feel about the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry?
Ryder: I think it’s really good cause I hate the gophers. I just never liked Minnesota at all. I never liked the Gophers, like, ever. I think it was really cool when they played here, I wished we would have had a better series. I think if we could sweep, that’s the biggest goal. Just kick their butts the next couple years. It’s good also because we played against all of them so we know all of them, it’s really exciting. I wish it was still the WCHA, it used to be the biggest thing.
Shay: Basically you hate two things if you’re from Minnesota: the Gophers and Edina. That’s just the way you’re raised. Pretty much hate Vorlicky.
Ryder: We love Edina now, so it’s fine.
Who’s your favorite person you follow on twitter/social media?
Shay: Dave Portnoy, Hundred percent. El Pres, the best content you could possibly create.
Ryder: I don’t really go on twitter that much so for Instagram I’d probably say Riley Green. He’s a good dude.
Who’s your biggest non-hockey role model?
Shay: Like an actual good person? Probably Tom Brady. Non athlete would probably again be Dave Portnoy.
Ryder: Non athlete, Morgan Wallen. Athlete would probably be…
Shay: It’s not a trick question.
Ryder: I know, my brain is dead. Oh, Michael Jordan, he’s literally the background on my phone.
What’s your favorite or most used emoji?
Shay: The purple dancing guy. That was way too fast of an answer.
Ryder: Either the throw up face or maybe the blind guy with the walking stick.
If you could have a specific song play after you score a goal, what would it be?
Shay: Well I’d have to score a goal first, but maybe “Welcome to the Party.”
Ryder: I was gonna say that too. Maybe “Kickstart My Heart” by Mötely Crüe.
Who’s the most impressive player you played against this season?
Shay: I think Khodorenko.
Ryder: I’m trying to think who we played… I’ll say the really good kid from Penn State, Evan Barrett, he’s pretty good. Actually, Cole Hultz, that kid lit me up. I hit him and he was an absolute rock wall.
What was your favorite class you took this past year?
Ryder: It was African Hip Hop and Senegal Politics. Do you know what I’m talking about? It was me, Shay, Dylan Holloway, Mike Vorlicky, K’andre Miller, and Alex Turcotte. We all took it, it was kinda entertaining.
Shay: I’ll say Greek Monsters, because I don’t think a lot of people know it’s a real class. I didn’t even get an ‘A’ in it by the way, so it’s not a joke. Tough class, hardest class of the year for sure, lots of reading.
What’s the best and worst part about playing with your brother?
Ryder: I think it’s just a really cool thing that after all these years of hockey and being away on different teams and him being 3 years older and how different our hockey paths were – and then for us to both come in here on the same team going through the best years of your life together – it’s definitely really special. Especially at a school like UW with the group of guys and the people we’re blessed to have around us and just being able to be rooted in such an unbelievable city – we both just absolutely love it here. We’ve always been really close and always have been really competitive in anything we do so now it’s fun to go at it on a daily basis about pretty much anything. The worst part would probably be over time I think if you’re with anyone that long stuff will definitely build-up or some days you just kinda butt heads but that’s just being a teammate too and handling it all. A couple scraps here and there but that’s what being brothers is all about. Needless to say, he definitely deserves to punch me sometimes but he’s smarter than that.I think with our personality’s and me being the younger rammy brother our whole life and Shay always being the glue guy who’s older than the hills – there’s a good balance there that makes us a special combo for sure.
What’s the story behind your jersey numbers?
Shay (28): Same number I wore in high school.
Ryder: And he was sick in high school. I wore it in summer hockey and AAA when I was younger and it’s my mom’s favorite number, and I just like 27. I was 22 before but I like 27, cause they never had 22. And it’s in my Snapchat name.
Who has better style?
Shay: Me one hundred percent.
Ryder: Shay thinks he does.
Shay: I buy all the clothes.
Ryder: He does by them but he’s a little feminine sometimes with the jorts.
Shay: I was rocking jorts and slides yesterday, so I have better style.
What’s your favorite social media app?
Ryder: Shay is definitely TikTok. Mine’s probably Instagram or snapchat.
What do you think of the Badger Men’s Hockey Instagram stories?
Ryder: You’re the one who does them right so I have to answer and say they’re good? No, they’re really good.
Shay: I think they’re good, I think I need a couple of shout outs, I need some more followers.
What do you do for fun in Madison, especially now when there’s not much going on?
Ryder: We go on a lot of runs. Basically, work out and movies, and just hanging out.
Shay: We try to get some sun a little bit and go lay in the sun, but my skin can’t take too much of it.
Ryder: We can’t go out or anything cause we’re social distancing.
What are you looking forward to most this season?
Ryder: We just all hope we have a season, I think. And it would be really fun because we have a really good group this year, I think our locker room is really good, a lot of good guys. Hopefully, we can at least have it, or at least be here.
Shay: Just getting more experience with great leadership. Kick some ass.