Curtis McKenzie led all rookies in scoring in the regular season and added 14 points during his team's successful playoff run.

Sensational rookie season for Golden’s McKenzie ends with championship

McKenzie's Texas Stars triumphed over the St. John's Ice Caps Tuesday night, putting the cherry on top of a dream rookie season.

A dream first season of professional hockey ended in style Tuesday night for Golden’s Curtis McKenzie when his Texas Stars beat the St. John’s Ice Caps in overtime to claim the AHL’s Calder Cup.

“It’s been pretty surreal,” he said about the championship. “We’ve had the trophy out and around with us. It’s been a fun time. There is no better feeling than winning.”

The local product has experienced his fair share of team success over the course of his young career, including a Central Collegiate Hockey Association championship just last year as a member of the Miami RedHawks of the NCAA. Still, there’s no doubt where this victory ranks for McKenzie early in his career.

“This tops it off for sure, I think just because of how long and how hard it was to win,” he said.

McKenzie, who also took home AHL Rookie of the Year honours in April, believes the experience he gained over the lengthy 21-game playoff run will prove to be invaluable for his career going forward.

“It was a great time to do that as a rookie and be in a playoff run like that,” he said. “You learn a lot in a playoff run. It’s a whole new type of hockey compared to the regular season…Playoff hockey is a physical, mental and emotional grind the whole way through.”

The end of season totals are very impressive for the 23 year-old. McKenzie’s 65 points lead all rookies during the regular season and he topped that off with three goals and 11 assists to finish in an eight-way tie for 8th in the league in playoff scoring.

A big part of McKenzie’s development this year has been a result of the tutelage he has received from head coach Willie Desjardins, who has recently been linked to a number of NHL coaching vacancies.

“I think he’s probably the best thing that could have happened to me,” McKenzie said. “He was great for me and developing me. There were times where he had to push me a little more or take a little off me and just find ways to give me confidence.”

Due to the Stars’ deep run in this spring’s playoffs, it will be a short off-season for McKenzie this year. He’ll be flying home to Golden for a few days to relax before spending most of his offseason in Calgary and Vancouver, where he will train with Dallas Stars personnel to get ready for training camp. Training camp will open in early September and McKenzie’s goals for next year remain clear – to make it to the NHL.

Until then, he’ll have time to train (he is aiming to improve his skating over the summer break) and reflect on what was an incredible rookie campaign.

“It was a dream season for sure. I never thought all of this would happen to me in one season…It was a fun year and a year I’ll never forget.”

Topping the season he had in 2013-2014 will be no easy task, but for McKenzie, leaving camp as a member of the Dallas Stars wouldn’t be a bad way to start.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Two killed in two-vehicle crash on Highway 1

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Your weekly Mountain Minute

This week’s top stories… Continue reading

Highway 1 closed to due fatal accident east of Revelstoke

A dump truck lost control and the driver was ejected

Turning Back the Pages: Donald was a happening place before the fire

By Colleen Palumbo Recently, the Golden Museum came into possession of a… Continue reading

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

B.C. removes personal limits for bringing home out-of-province alcohol

Previous relgulations placed limits on the amount of liquor that B.C. residents could bring home

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Most Read