Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rockets trade Johnston

From a raw 16 year-old rookie to a mature 20 year-old.
Such is the evolution of Swift Current, Saskatchewan born MacKenzie Johnston over four quick seasons in a Kelowna Rockets uniform.
One of four returning overage players, the defensive defenceman would have been entering his 5th season with the organization but was the odd man out as the team decided to go with Myles Bell, Zach Franko and goaltender Jordon Cooke.
Listed by Rockets Director of Player Personnel Lorne Frey while playing minor hockey at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Johnston turned into a steady defensive defenceman who often played in the shadows of more skilled blue liners ahead of him. Johnston never racked up many points, so making safe plays by chipping the puck off the glass and out of the zone didn't win brownie points with the fans. While he was underrated outside of those in the dressing room, his teammates knew his true value.
Without players like Johnston, you just won't win. Every good team has one or more of these type of players on their roster. Anything but fancy, shutdown defenceman are always highly coveted at the WHL trade deadline.
Gavin McLeod, Brett Palin and Darren Deschamps are just three other examples defensive minded d-men who rarely received the accolades they deserve.     
While not overly physical, Johnston worked on his game in an effort to earn a regular shift. In the end he played in 233 games in the WHL wearing Rockets colours.
Johnston had a quiet confidence about him, something you admired because of the way he carried himself.  
Without question, 'Johnny', as he is known to his teammates, will be missed on the ice and in the locker room.


Dan Mortenson said...

Unfortunate that we had to get rid of one of these guys. I'm glad he went to a real contender in Prince Albert. He should get a solid chance to succeed there.

Gordon McGarva said...

Well said Regan ! MacKenzie will be missed. Tough trade to make for sure.All the best for MacKenzie in Price Albert.

Anonymous said...

Wow...the Raider's just got better... Good luck Mackenzie!

Unknown said...

Good luck MacKenzie! A class act who will be missed.

Unknown said...

Probably one of the most underrated players in the history of the game. Best of luck in P.A.!