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Deer Lake’s Lucas McKay coming home to play for Gander Flyers

Lucas McKay had a great time playing several seasons in the Maritime Hockey League with both the St. Stephen Aces and Miramichi Timberwolves. His junior career behind him, McKay realized he didn’t want to give up playing the game so he is returning home to play in the Central West Senior Hockey League with the Gander Flyers.
Lucas McKay had a great time playing several seasons in the Maritime Hockey League with both the St. Stephen Aces and Miramichi Timberwolves. His junior career behind him, McKay realized he didn’t want to give up playing the game so he is returning home to play in the Central West Senior Hockey League with the Gander Flyers.

It’s easier said than done sometimes when a guy thinks he’s had enough of the grind.

Deer Lake native Lucas McKay graduated from the Maritime Junior Hockey League ranks back in the spring of this year and figured he was done with hockey and his plan was to continue working in Edmonton.

It appears he’s had a change of heart and is now looking forward to a change of scenery.

The six-foot, 183-pound defenceman — who came up short in his quest for a Maritime junior hockey title when his Miramichi Timberwolves lost 4-3 to the Truro Bearcats in Game 7 of the 2017 MHL final — is going to ply his trade in the Central West Senior Hockey League.

McKay, a 21-year-old left-handed stay-at-home rearguard, was the second pick of the Clarenville Caribous in the player draft held a week ago, but two days later he was shipped to the Gander Flyers in a trade that saw veteran defender Mike Dyke go the other way.

 “I just couldn’t leave the game so I decided to put my name in the draft and see what happens,” McKay said Monday from Edmonton.

McKay is planning on returning to Deer Lake at the end of the month to prepare for his rookie campaign in provincial senior hockey circles.

“I’m excited to get back in the game and play some fast hockey,” he said.

McKay began his MHL career with the expansion St. Stephen Aces, like a number of other west coast natives who starred for the Western Kings during their minor hockey careers, but with the team struggling to make the playoffs team management opted to move McKay to a contender in a four-play swap.

His years of junior hockey allowed him to play a lot of fast and physical hockey that he figures he wouldn’t have been afforded if he didn’t go away to the mainland. He believes his exposure to the MHL will help him adjust to playing senior hockey against some older and bigger players.

“The speed of the game taught me to move the puck quick and keep your head up and read the ice quicker,” he said.

He’s confident he can hold his own on the back end and looks forward to seeing how he stacks up.

Coming home to play the game he loves … things could be much worse, he figures.

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