The Central York Girls Hockey Association is thrilled to announce that
their 2021/22 Jr Panther, Mackenzie Keenan, has committed to play USports AUS
Women’s Hockey for the University of New Brunswick Reds in Fredericton, New
Brunswick for the 2022/23 season.Mackenzie has been an integral part of the Central York Panthers U22AA program for the past two seasons and is a standout on the blue line that is one of the best groups in the highly competitive PWHL. Mackenzie was a cornerstone piece for the defense in 2020/21 when the Jr Panthers were looking to make a big splash in the PWHL. The COVID shutdown and limited games made it difficult for anyone to notice the significant change in the Jr Panther program. However this year Mackenzie has used her elite level skating and skills to put the Jr Panthers in an exclusive group at the top of the PWHL.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play hockey at the University level and I can’t thank the Panthers organization enough for helping me get there. Since coming to Central York I have had nothing but great experiences. I have met great people who have supported me throughout this time in my life, on and off the ice. There is a family-like culture throughout the entire association, not just from team to team. It is this culture that really appealed to me and made me feel valued and supported. The high performance program that was implemented by Central York a few years ago has allowed me an easy transition from U18 to the Jr level”, stated Keenan. Mackenzie exclaimed, “I feel extremely confident and ready to be an impact player at the University level because of my development here with Central York!“
Known as a highly skilled, cool under pressure player who makes everyone feel valued and welcomed with open arms, Mackenzie helps bring calmness to the most intense situations. Mackenzie is counted on to play against the top units from the other teams in the PWHL night in and night out. She anchors a strong defensive unit and adds to the team offense with her shot and decisions along the offensive blueline. Her leadership traits have helped to create a team first culture in the Panther dressing room over the past two years.
Sarah Hilworth, Head Coach of the University of New Brunswick Reds has been watching Mackenzie’s progress as a Panther over the past few years and is very excited that she is joining her program. “We are thrilled to add Mackenzie to our REDS family, and we know that she is going to be a great addition to UNB. Mackenzie is an intelligent defender who will make a mark on our blue line right away. She is strong defensively and is highly mobile which fits into what we are looking for. We are excited and can’t wait to see her in RED”, proclaimed Coach Hilworth.
Central York’s U22AA(Jr) Head Coach Steve Dempsey is very excited about this commitment. “Mackenzie was one of my first contacts once I took over the Jr Panther program and I couldn’t be happier for her. Mackenzie has been a great addition to our program and joins in on a long line of great Panthers over the years. She has really blossomed in the past two years and has a ton of confidence right now. Her play has really taken off this year and I really like the pathway that she is on. There is no doubt that Mackenzie is a great player but it is her heart that will be missed most. Mackenzie makes us all feel good about coming to the rink with her infectious smile and positive attitude. It’s hard to explain but Mackenzie is just a really great person and you can never have enough of those in your life. I am really happy for her but will miss her a lot. I know Sarah Hilworth personally and I am really happy for both of them with this signing. Some players and coaches are better fits than others and this one will be a great partnership.”
Mackenzie is scheduled to start the 2022/23 season at University of New Brunswick next fall.