Connor Mackey: “Ready to Take That Step”

CALGARY, AB – It was a task unlike any other in his career to this point.

A mano-a-mano, high-speed showdown.

Fortunately, Connor Mackey is the type that embraces that challenge.

“A couple of years ago, maybe, I was a little hesitant against those players,” Mackey said of his battles with Connor McDavid on Friday in Edmonton. “Now, I’m more up to that challenge and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I want to shut these guys down.’ It’s definitely exciting being out against those players and it’s an opportunity I want to take full advantage of.

“And I think I did pretty well.”

Mackey has been a real bright spot for the Flames to this point, appearing in three preseason games and munching big minutes against top players. The 26-year-old – who’s entering his third pro camp after three years at Minnesota State – has done everything asked of him in his pursuit of a full-time spot on the Flames blueline. That includes Friday’s pulsating workload of 21-plus minutes, with nearly half coming against the NHL’s reigning Art Ross champ and two-time 50-goal scorer Leon Draisaitl.

Mackey defended them well in all situations, including on the penalty-kill, where the Oilers went oh-fer on three opportunities.

But the prevailing image – for this reporter, at least – was the bounty of rush attempts that were casually snuffed out by the stoic rearguard. McDavid, showcasing his unmistakeable and outlandish top-end speed, would gather velocity in the neutral zone, cut across the blueline and look to make a fool of the defenceman with a series of head fakes, crossovers and lively stick work.

But Mackey never bit.

Heat’s Connor Mackey named AHL Player of the Week

STOCKTON, CA – The American Hockey League announced today that Stockton Heat defenseman Connor Mackey has been selected as the AHL Player of the Week for the period ending December 5, 2021.

In two games last week, Mackey recorded three goals – two of them shorthanded – and two assists to help the Pacific Division-leading Heat to a pair of victories.

Mackey scored his first two goals of the 2021-22 season on Friday, one shorthanded and one on the power play, as part of a three-point night to lift Stockton to a 4-1 victory over San Diego. And in Saturday’s rematch with the Gulls, Mackey earned an assist before giving the Heat the lead for good with another shorthanded marker en route to a 3-2 win.

A second-year pro, Mackey has totaled three goals and six assists in 17 games for Stockton this season after garnering Canadian Division All-Star honors as a rookie in 2020-21, when he posted three goals and 13 assists in 27 contests. Mackey also made his NHL debut with Calgary last season, recording one goal and two assists in six games, and earned a bronze medal with the United States at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Mackey, a native of Tower Lakes, Ill., originally signed with Calgary on Mar. 20, 2020, following three seasons at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Flames sign restricted free agent Connor Mackey to two-year, one-way deal

CALGARY, AB- The Calgary Flames have signed defencemen Connor Mackey, who was a restricted free agent, to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $912,500, the team announced Wednesday.

Originally signed by the Flames in March of 2020 after spending his collegiate career with Minnesota State University, Mackey made his debut last season.

Rookie Year Experience has Mackey Ready to Go

CALGARY, AB – When you start with dessert, vegetables don’t sound so appealing.

So you can forgive Connor Mackey if he was taken aback for a second when it came time to ditch the cake and dive in to the cauliflower.

Since signing with the Flames prior to the team hitting the bubble for the 2019-20 postseason, all he’d known was life in the NHL. He was with the Flames throughout the stay in the Edmonton bubble. He had a strong preseason camp in 2020-21 and earned a spot with the big club to start the campaign.

Then, he found out he was going to head to the Heat.

Mackey, Damiani Named to AHL All-Star Team

SPRINGFIELD, MA –  The American Hockey League announced today the 2020-21 AHL All-Star Teams, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 28 active member cities. This season, an All-Star Team was selected for each of the league’s five divisions.

2020-21 AHL Canadian Division All-Star Team
G – Cayden Primeau, Laval Rocket (11-4-0, 2.10gaa, .909sv%, 2so)
D – Otto Leskinen, Laval Rocket (33gp, 1+16=17pts., +15, 6 PPA)
D – Connor Mackey, Stockton Heat (27gp, 3+13=16pts., 47 SOG, 16 ESP)
F – Kalle Kossila, Toronto Marlies (28gp, 7+22=29pts., +11, 2 PPG, 1 GWG)
F – Egor Sokolov, Belleville Senators (35gp, 15+10=25pts., 3 PPG, 1 GWG)
F – Nathan Todd, Manitoba Moose (36gp, 12+20=32pts., +10, 5 PPG, 2 GWG)

2020-21 AHL Central Division All-Star Team
G – Beck Warm, Chicago Wolves (8-4-1, 2.74gaa, .914sv%, 2so)
D – Calen Addison, Iowa Wild (31gp, 6+16=22pts., +7, 1 PPG, 7 PPA)
D – Cody Franson, Rockford IceHogs (26gp, 4+13=17pts., +1, 9 PPP)
F – Riley Barber, Grand Rapids Griffins (32gp, 20+14=34pts., 8 PPG, 6 GWG)
F – Riley Damiani, Texas Stars (36gp, 11+25=36pts., +3, 4 PPG, 2 GWG)
F – Adam Mascherin, Texas Stars (37gp, 18+16=34pts., +1, 4 PPG, 1 GWG)

 

 

 

Mackey settling into marquee role for Flames’ farm club

CALGARY, AB – This was not ‘just another game.’

Maybe it’s easier to admit that when you’re not on the ice.

In this case, Calgary Flames defence prospect Connor Mackey — the rookie pro has three NHL appearances on his resume and is currently logging major minutes with the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat — had just finished a day’s work and was nervously tracking his alma mater as the Minnesota State (Mankato) Mavericks quested to make school history and ultimately advance through the regional round to the NCAA’s Frozen Four.

Mackey was a workhorse for the Mavericks for three seasons before signing with the Flames last spring.

Mackey Family “Proud” of Son Connor and his NHL debut with Flames

CALGARY, AB – It certainly made for a late night in the American Midwest, but Dave Mackey wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

His boy, Connor – at 24 years old, and a free-agent signing of the Flames last March – was finally getting a look in The Show.

“We’re all a bit tired today,” Dave laughed Sunday from the Mackey family home in Tower Lakes, Ill. “In the moment, you don’t really appreciate all the emotions, the nervousness and the excitement you feel watching the game when he’s in there.

“Here, it was my wife and I, and Connor’s twin brother, Ian, watching Hockey Night in Canada.

“But Vancouver – where I’m from – was kind of a second home for Connor growing up. For him to be able to play his first game in that city, in that rink, was awesome.

Flames rookie Connor Mackey aims to follow father into NHL spotlight

CALGARY, AB – As a youngster, Connor Mackey received some advice from one of the original leaders of the Calgary Flames.

Connor’s father, Dave, reached the big leagues as a tough-as-nails forward and is a proud member of the Chicago Blackhawks alumni. When the old-timers in the Windy City would congregate for family-friendly holiday scrimmages, Dave would often bring his twin boys along.

“Here’s a story for you … Do you remember Phil Russell, the old captain of the Flames? I think he was No. 5,” Dave said over the phone from Tower Lakes, Ill. “I remember one time our alumni was skating, and he and Connor were D partners. I think Connor was, like, eight years old at the time. They came off and Phil gave him heck. He was like, ‘Hey, you’ve gotta move that puck to me a little quicker.’ ”

Dave chuckles.

“I always tell Phil, ‘I actually think he was looking you off,’ ” he continued. “But Connor goes, ‘Jeez Dad, I guess I have to move the puck a little quicker.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, you might want to listen to that guy.’ ”

Indeed, Russell was a pretty good resource for an up-and-coming rearguard. He belongs to the NHL’s silver-stick club and played a five-season chunk of his 1,000-plus games with the Atlanta/Calgary Flames, serving as alternate captain when the franchise moved north and then having the ‘C’ stitched on his jersey from 1981-83.

Now 24, freshly signed out of the collegiate ranks and hoping to be tapped for his own NHL debut sometime soon, Connor is these days trying to learn as much he can from the current leader of the Flames. In a nice bit of symmetry, Mark Giordano wears No. 5, too.

Giordano, apparently, has been impressed. At the outset of training camp, based on what he’d witnessed in small-group skates, he singled out the rookie pro as a guy who “looks like he’s pretty close to being ready to play.”

When a not-long-ago Norris Trophy winner makes a comment like that, it gets back to the newcomer pretty quick.

“That was cool to hear, for sure,” Connor said.

The Flames’ coaching staff must be impressed, too, with what their prized college free-agent signing has shown since the team opened camp last weekend.

They’ve now rearranged their groups, with all of the everyday NHLers lumped together in the morning wave. Mackey is the only guy in those star-studded sessions who has yet to log action at the highest level. It is, he admitted, “definitely a confidence-booster” to be keeping that sort of company.

College coach believes Flames signing Connor Mackey has bright future

CALGARY, AB – Mike Hastings, over the phone from Mankato, Minn., is being quizzed about Connor Mackey.

Which, for the head coach of the NCAA’s Minnesota State University Mavericks hockey program, is nothing new.

Every week, all winter, NHL scouts were asking about the late-blooming blue-liner who ultimately inked an entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames.

“Put it this way — he made one team happy (Friday), and I think there were a lot of others that were disappointed that they weren’t the group that had the opportunity to sign him,” Hastings said.