He put on his skates for the first time at four years old and knew right away hockey would be a game he would want to pursue.
The 12-year-old is captain of the Stephenville entry in the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Peewee E hockey championship being staged April 17-19 at the Stephenville Dome.
Blanchard, who also participates in the high-performance Impact hockey program under coach Brian Casey of Grand Falls-Windsor, is a versatile player with soft hands and a knack for being able to play up front or move back on the blueline.
He’s a go-to guy for his team who can put the puck in the net, but he gets just as much satisfaction from sharing the puck with his linemates.
He always focuses on being a leader by trying to make people around him better.
“Play by example and encourage everybody to play better,” Mackenzie said of his focus as the captain of the team.
A Grade 7 student at Stephenville Middle School, Mackenzie won a gold medal at the provincial atom mega tournament in Corner Brook last season, and this time around gold is again the colour he seeks.
He’s excited about going for a banner on home ice. He has no worries about hitting the road for this year’s event, and that’s fine with him because he likes the idea of family and friends in the stands watching him do his thing.
He believes in his teammates. He likes how they work hard all the time and he expects good things will come their way this week.
“If everybody gave it their all I think we’d have a good chance at winning the banner,” he said.
He’s going to do his part to make it happen. It’s just another challenge for him and he’s willing to take it on with a smile.
For a complete schedule for the provincial Peewee E hockey tournament, see today’s Scoreboard on page 14.