Fifteen-year-old hockey phenom Gavin McKenna has been tearing up the ice for Team Yukon at the Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island.
On Feb. 23, McKenna broke the games’ record for most points in a tournament for men’s hockey.
In total, McKenna banked 29 points in six tournament games, including four games over two days.
McKenna is a Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizen from Whitehorse. He spoke about his tournament experience during an in-person and virtual press conference held in P.E.I. on Feb. 24.
“Being from the Yukon, coming from a small place, representing that territory. It’s an amazing feeling,” he said.
“I hope this inspires some people from the Yukon and all the other small territories to just kind of work towards your goal. Dream big.”
McKenna accomplished the record-setting feat in his final chance to make history with a 7-3 loss against Team Newfoundland and Labrador.
Playing against P.E.I in front of a hometown crowd on the East Coast was a highlight for him. Team Yukon took the win 5-3. McKenna finished the game with a hat trick and an assist.
“We had two wins going into that game,” he said.
“We knew if we got that third win, we would be through the pool and that was our goal going into the tournament.”
As of the morning of Feb. 24, the team’s captain and territory’s flag bearer topped the charts with 14 goals and 15 assists.
“What I saw was a guy that led on the ice and also off the ice,” head coach Ken Anderson said.
McKenna said his teammates pitched in and did their jobs.
“It’s pretty kind of easy to be a leader with this group of guys,” he said.
His team finished in 10th place out of the territories and provinces.
He said he was “a little exhausted” by the end of his games.
“It gets tiring at the end,” he said.
“Obviously, it’s hockey, so it’s what I love.”
McKenna is not alone on the team in setting new records. Chayce Tuton became the highest scoring defenceman in men’s hockey at a game while Jase Johnstone surpassed Sidney Crosby’s point total at the games.
Team Yukon officials said finishing 10th is “historic, as the best finish for the men’s hockey team ever.”
The biathlon team was also in action on Feb 23. Isla Hupé placed fifth, the highest placing for an athlete from the territory in the sport, according to officials. Cole Germain came in sixth while Noah Marnik placed ninth in the men’s individual race.
In gymnastics, Lilly Witten, Olivia Vangel, Layla Hombert made the artistic all around competition and performed their beam, bars, floor and vault routines on Feb. 23, finishing with 27.983, 26.928 and 25.724 points respectively.
Speed skaters Lisa Freeman and Lucas Taggart-Cox competed in the 500- and 1000-metre races. Full results were not available at press time.
The squash team started their first team competitions on Feb 22. The girls took on Manitoba, losing 4-0. The boys took on Quebec, one of the top-ranked teams at the games, and gave their best, but lost 4-0.
The female curling team played Newfoundland in a placement game and lost 9-5.
In table tennis, the team began their singles competition, but lost 3-2 to their P.E.I. counterparts.
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