Yukon’s Gavin McKenna hopes his record-breaking Canada Games inspires others
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The brand new document holder for factors in a Canada Video games hockey match hopes others “dream huge” after watching him play in Prince Edward Island this week.
Gavin McKenna recorded 29 factors in six video games, breaking the earlier mark of 27 held by Quebec’s François Methot (1997) and New Brunswick’s Kelsey Tessier (2007).
“Being from the Yukon, coming from a small place, representing that territory, it’s an incredible feeling,” he mentioned throughout a Feb. 24 information convention in Charlottetown.
“Clearly, I hope this conjures up some folks from the Yukon, and all the opposite small territories, to simply form of work in direction of your objective, dream huge and (know) something is feasible in the event you simply put your thoughts in direction of it.”
There was numerous hype in regards to the Yukon teenager main into the match, and he didn’t disappoint.
McKenna had 23 factors within the 4 preliminary spherical video games towards Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. It helped Yukon end 3-1 and advance to the qualification recreation the place they misplaced to New Brunswick 13-3. Newfoundland and Labrador defeated Yukon 7-3 within the ninth-place recreation.
McKenna mentioned the sport with the host Island squad was a giant one as Yukon already had two wins and one other would get them into the qualification contest. He remembers the empty-net objective that iced the competition.
“That was an incredible feeling,” he mentioned. “It was undoubtedly a cool factor for positive, understanding that we form of set historical past there (as) the primary Yukon group to make it by means of. It was superior.”
Trevor Twardochleb, Yukon’s chef de mission, mentioned the sport was an excellent expertise for all the group’s gamers.
“If you’re from a small province, typically you’re enjoying in entrance of empty homes, however that recreation towards P.E.I. was mind-blowing by way of the assist that each groups had been getting,” he mentioned. “The folks listed below are fantastic.”
Head coach Ken Anderson mentioned he knew McKenna was the line-driving drive again when tryouts started. Throughout this week’s match, he mentioned, the teenager demonstrated the flexibility to place a group on his again.
“These form of gamers simply need to play, and so they need to play on a regular basis.”
McKenna acknowledged being “a bit exhausted” from the schedule that noticed the group play two video games in back-to-back days.
“It’s hockey, it’s what I really like, so it’s all good,” he mentioned.
There have been rumblings across the rink of McKenna enjoying upwards of 40 minutes in a recreation this week.
“I might not be shocked,” Anderson, however “I’m not the form of man to maintain stats.”
McKenna performed on each the facility play and penalty kill plus enjoying each different shift.
“I mentioned you guys have to speak to me and let me know the way you’re feeling,” Anderson mentioned.
He famous McKenna, who solely turned 15 in December, could be very mature and an early riser.
“He’s within the zone. He will get up within the morning and does what he must do to handle himself,” the bench boss mentioned. “He approaches the sport like I might think about a professional would.”
McKenna mentioned he fashions his recreation after Cole Harbour, N.S.’s Nathan MacKinnon, who he described as a 200-foot participant, however his favorite participant to look at is New Jersey Devils centre Jack Hughes.
McKenna mentioned he’ll bear in mind representing Yukon essentially the most from his week in P.E.I.
“Clearly, it’s an exquisite territory, and I’m so proud coming from there,” he mentioned.
“And simply being with this group of men. It’s unbelievable attending to reunite with plenty of guys that I grew up with and attending to see how far they’ve come as folks and gamers, it’s fairly cool for positive.”
Twardochleb mentioned it was “unbelievable” to get to look at McKenna break the document.
“He’s such a sort and caring child (from a) fantastic household, and the neighborhood simply embraces him,” he mentioned. “To place him within the highlight, you couldn’t ask for a greater particular person.”
Whereas the Canada Video games is the head for a lot of athletes, folks consider they’re solely watching the start of McKenna’s story. He’s already the projected prime choose for the 2026 NHL draft.
“He’s a shining star,” Twardochleb mentioned. “For Gavin, you may see that it’s going to be a brilliant future.”
Right here’s a take a look at Gavin McKenna’s week on the Canada Video games with the Yukon hockey group.
Date Opponent G A Pts.
Feb. 20 Nunavut 6 3 9
Feb. 20 Northwest Territories 2 6 8
Feb. 21 P.E.I. 3 1 4
Feb. 21 Newfoundland and Labrador 0 2 2
Feb. 22 New Brunswick 2 1 3
Feb. 23 Newfoundland and Labrador 1 2 3
Match 14 15 29
Jason Malloy is the lead editor of the Annapolis Valley Register. He might be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter at @JasonMa47772994.