By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
His junior career wrapped up more than a month ago, and now all the hard work Brian MacKenzie put into his three years with the Selkirk Steelers is being recognized both provincially and nationally.
MacKenzie, a 20-year-old forward from Winnipeg, is this year’s MJHL winner for the RBC Junior A Scholarship. The honour not only earns him a $1,000 scholarship, it also qualifies him for a $5,000 scholarship. The winner of that award will be announced at the upcoming RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie.
He learned about the award after receiving a call from MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis on Monday.
“I was at work and Kim Davis called me at work – that was a nice surprise, for sure,” he said.
MacKenzie, a five-foot-nine, 170 pound forward with the Steelers, said the scholarship will help him reach his post-secondary school goals.
“I’m currently a student at the U of M – I’ve been taking classes there, (though) it’s been a small class load with my having to drive to Selkirk from St. Vital,” he said. “I’m in the Argi-Business program, working away at it. And I plan on taking a more intense workload in the fall with my time freed up.
“This (scholarship) is huge – it’s such an honour, and I was lucky enough to win the one from my team as well,” added MacKenzie. “This will go a long way in helping me to pay for costs, books, and all the supplied needed.”
He added potentially winning the national scholarship would be not only a huge honour, but would help him complete his degree as well.
On the ice, MacKenzie was a veteran presence on a young Steelers team this season, finishing his 20-year-old season with 15 goals and 17 assists in 57 games. He played his entire junior career with the Steelers, and he spoke about the long days of a student/part-time employee/junior hockey player, and how that hard work paid off for him.
“I was 17 and I started playing while I was in high school, and after that I started working part-time,” he said. “After high school I’d go to (university), leave go to work, and then leave to go to practice or play a game.
“I definitely missed out on some things, but in the end I’m glad I chose the path I did and started school when I did.”
MacKenzie said he’s had some feelers from Division III schools from the United States, but he said that’s not the route he’s opting to take. He would still like to play some competitive hockey, and he’s still looking at a few options to keep playing the game he loves while he continues his education.