Club Sports

Oregon hockey’s Connor McBride discovers passion in music

By Anne Yilmaz

His entire life revolved around hockey. That is, until music came along.

Music took a hold of senior Connor McBride’s life after he left The Hill School, a preparatory boarding school in Pennsylvania with a rigorous hockey program.

“Playing hockey there is like playing football here,” McBride said.

For Connor, leaving The Hill School and returning to Oregon meant giving up pursuing hockey seriously — and the change was anything but easy for him.

“For my entire life, I was a hockey player,” McBride said. “That’s how I thought of myself. But when I came back from boarding school, I decided that I wasn’t hockey player anymore. I was just a guy who plays hockey.”

Although it was difficult at the time for him to come to terms with the switch, it opened the door to where he is now. In his new-found free time, McBride decided to pick up the guitar after a four-year break. Soon after that, he combined his love for guitar and his love for poetry, and began writing his own songs. Then he started to sing them.

Within the last few years, his love for playing and composing songs has only grown.

“It’s been in the last two and a half years that I’ve probably been playing guitar too much,” he said, only somewhat jokingly. “I play guitar so much all day and then I stay up studying all night because I forgot to do my homework. It’s actually taking over my life.”

His devotion isn’t at all surprising to those who know him well.

“He was a very young guy, but he was really intense,” said Jerry Salas, McBride’s first guitar teacher. “He always had a very serious look on his face when he was learning, and I could tell he was very serious about it.”

“He was totally committed to learning and you could see he was having fun doing it as well,” he added.

McBride’s sincere love for music hasn’t only affected his own life.

“He does inspire me,” Connor’s mother, Tina McBride, said. “The depth of soul that he has in music is the way he is in life. (His passion) always reminds me that a person needs to be grounded and needs to feel their way through life as much as they think their way through life.”

And Connor is following his heart on this one. After college, he plans on getting a job involving what he loves.

“What I want to do is be something,” McBride said. “I don’t want to just be me. I want to be me who does something important, who does something special.”

For him, that something special is music.

“Playing music makes (people) happy and that makes me happy,” McBride said. “I’m the kind of person who wants to make other people happy and since I love playing music, that’s just a win-win in my book.”

Follow Anne Yilmaz on Twitter @anneyilmaz

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