It took 28 years for fans at the Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament to see what a Yukon hockey player can do. It won’t soon be forgotten.
Whitehorse’s Gavin McKenna helped the B.C. Junior Canucks reach the final at the 28th annual tournament, July 3-9 in Edmonton.
“It was fun, a good experience, good competition,” said McKenna. “There was another Brick team there that I used to play on…. I went to play for B.C. — I used to play on Team Alberta.”
The tournament is described as a “super novice” tourney for the best nine- and 10-year-old players from across North America, with teams from Boston, Chicago, California and more. Over 185 tournament alumni have gone on to play in the NHL, such as Steven Stamkos, Jay Boumeester and Jordan Eberle.
McKenna, born and raised in Whitehorse, is believed to be the first Yukoner to play the tournament.
He said he was “kind of” nervous “but I was excited at the same time.”
The nine-year-old winger made his presence known. After six round robin games McKenna was sixth in scoring in the tournament and second on his team, combining for 11 points with four goals and seven assists.
He was also named MVP in four games.
The B.C. Junior Canucks went on to lose 6-5 in overtime to the Toronto Bulldogs in the final. McKenna logged two power play goals for his fifth and sixth goals of the week.
The final stands out the most in his mind because “I scored two goals in the final of a Brick tournament against a very good team, and it went to overtime,” said McKenna. “The atmosphere and the fans was really cool too.”
McKenna was invited to Brick tournament tryouts last August after being scouted while playing with a Whitehorse team in Salmon Arm.
This past season McKenna played for the Yukon Atom Mustangs rep team and he has been a scoring leader for the Whitehorse Huskies atom development team the last couple seasons.
“He’s a fantastic young kid who works his butt off both in practice and in games,” said Huskies coach Justin Halowaty. “He’s an ’07 kid and played on our ’06 and ’05 atom development team.
“He’s one of our most skilled players and he’s been playing up a year with our group.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org