Every athlete longs for a second chance.
Jeremy McKenna is getting his today by signing a new two-year American Hockey League contract with the Toronto Marlies.
“It’s obviously special,” McKenna said of signing with the Maple Leaf organization.
“It’s a great opportunity with one of the best run organizations in hockey.”
The 20-year-old sniper had a brief taste of the pro ranks last year signing a one-year AHL deal with the Calgary Flames organization.
In mid October, McKenna made the difficult decision to put his lifelong dream on hold for one final run at junior hockey supremacy with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL.
The Wildcats and McKenna were well on their way until the season ended due to the horrific COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s special to get this news in some tough times with family,” confessed McKenna.
Mark and Sara McKenna decided to temporarily close their popular family restaurant the Granville Street Diner a few weeks back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many athletes want a second chance, but every athlete simply wants an opportunity to prove they belong.
“This is a good opportunity to go and develop for two years and look at cracking the NHL lineup. That’s my focus,” stressed McKenna.
On and off the ice the kid from Summerside, PEI has strived to be the best while seemingly always facing harsh criticism and skepticism.
McKenna’s drive, focus and resiliency are truly unmatched making today’s signing with the Marlies special for him and his family.
“I’m excited, and I think with the resources that the Toronto Maple Leafs have and how much time and effort they put into their minor league systems to develop guys in my same position is big.”
McKenna is confident in his ability, but realizes it’s a marathon not a sprint.
“I believe if I work hard and continue to develop I’ll be able to make the jump in a couple of years.”
“The Summerside Sniper” is coming off yet another stellar season in the QMJHL where he scored 40 goals and added 42 assists in only 57 games.
In 282 career games with the Wildcats, McKenna scored 143 goals and 162 assists.
“The first thing you think about is all of the teammates and all the staff that helped you along the way, said McKenna reflecting on his time with the Wildcats.
“Coming to the rink enjoying everyday and putting in the work to be prepared for every game and just the preparation time is something that I learned how important it really was for me as a player.”
Every athlete longs for a second chance or a new opportunity.
Jeremy McKenna is prepared to take full advantage of the one he earned.