Gavin McKenna: Hockey’s Next Phenom

Via cbc.ca

15-year-old Gavin McKenna made history at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He set a new record for points scored in a men’s hockey tournament at the games.

The 2023 Canada Winter Games is a multi-sport event hosted across Prince Edward Island, from February 18, 2023, to March 5, 2023.

Playing for Yukon, McKenna recorded 29 points in six games at the Winter Games, breaking the previous 27 points held by Quebec’s François Methot (1997) and New Brunswick’s Kelsey Tessier (2007).

A Canada games record that stood for 28 years. He scored 23 points in the four preliminary-round games against Newfoundland, Labrador, P.E.I., the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

Yukon finished with a 3-1 record, advancing to the qualification game, where they lost to New Brunswick 13-3. Yukon fell 7-3 to Newfoundland and Labrador in the ninth-place game to finish the tournament.

McKenna finished the tournament with 14 goals and 15 assists. Here are his game-by-game stats with Yukon at the 2023 Winter Games.

  • versus Nunavut – nine points (6G, 3A)
  • versus Northwest Territories – eight points (2G, 6A)
  • versus Prince Edward Island – four points (3G, 1A)
  • versus Newfoundland and Labrador – two points (0G, 2A)
  • versus New Brunswick – three points (2G, 1A)
  • versus Newfoundland and Labrador – three points (1G, 2A)

As the 2023 NHL Draft is fast upon us and NHL fans hope their team can get their hands on generational talent, Connor Bedard, should they fail to do so, maybe the next generational talent isn’t too far away in Gavin McKenna, who just so happens to be Connor Bedard’s cousin.

McKenna grew up in Whitehorse, Yukon, a Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation citizen.

McKenna was granted exceptional player status in early 2022, potentially putting him on the radar to become the top pick in the WHL draft. The Medicine Hat Tigers did just that, selecting him as the first overall pick in the 2022 Western Hockey League Draft – a first for any Yukon-born player.

In his 2022-23 season, he has split his time between the Medicine Hat Tigers and the South Alberta Hockey Academy (SAHA). He has 73 points in 25 games with the SAHA and eight assists in 11 games with the Tigers.

After McKenna’s performance at the 2023 Canada Winter Games, I don’t think anyone doubts McKenna’s career continuing in a positive direction. As a 15-year-old, scouts already view McKenna as a top prospect for the 2026 NHL Entry Draft.

For now, though, it’s back to the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers and possibly SAHA to finish his 2022-23 season.

Look for McKenna to play full-time in the Western Hockey League in 2023-24 with the Tigers, where he will look to make a name for himself as Connor Bedard did playing for the Regina Pats.

The hockey world is always looking to anoint the next generational talent. Hockey fans should look no further than Gavin McKenna. His development in the next three seasons in Western Canada with Medicine Hat will be something to pay close attention to see if the next Connor Bedard is none other than his cousin.

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