OHL Draft: Brenden McKay Hopes To Be A Blue Chip On The Blue Line
When it comes to Chatham-Kent born blueliners, Brenden McKay is the cream of the 2005 crop.
Long considered a prospect for the OHL draft, McKay is hoping that his hard work over the last several seasons with the Chatham-Kent Cyclones culminates in an OHL selection.
“It would be a dream come true,” said McKay.
“Before COVID, I was on the ice 6 days a week practicing or playing in a game. On top of that I would skate with my skating coach before school working on my edges and transitions. I’ve worked hard to get this far. This is an exciting time, but without being able to play in front of scouts, combined with the “no contact” rule, it has really changed the way the game looks. I’m hopeful, but if I don’t get drafted I’ll continue to work on my skills and development.”
For a physical defender like McKay, who shoots left and collected 5 goals and 13 points from the blueline in his U15 season, the year was definitely different. McKay had dedicated himself to preparing for the showcase that is a players U16 season.
“The season wasn’t anything like I expected. This was supposed to be the big year, the year where tournaments featured the top players in North America. The year where the stands were full with Scouts and spectators. The year that gave us the chance to show what we’ve been working on for so long,” McKay explained.
“It wasn’t the year we hoped for, but we made the best of it. The Cyclones were more fortunate than a lot of other teams. We were able to practice and even play a few games and scrimmages. It really gave us a chance to improve our passing and skating skills. We even had some scouts attend our practices. Most other teams didn’t get that chance.”
McKay, who verges on six-foot, hopes that the scouts that did make it out this season, along with his strong U15 campaign, were enough to earn him a pick in the OHL Draft. He hopes that scouts see the well balanced package he can bring to the next level.
“I always give 110% effort in a practice, or a game. I’m an excellent skater, and can play aggressive when needed. I listen well, I’m coachable, and I have a good attitude. I think if you set that example, others will follow.”
It seems the Cyclones have followed earn others’ lead this season, and over the past several, as they have one of the deepest draft classes since the 1998 group of Cyclones that produced five OHL players, and others who advanced to USports and Junior A hockey.
McKay believes in his teammates and hopes he can call several on draft day to congratulate them.
“We had a great team this year. I’ve been told that this was the best Cyclones team since the ’98 born year draft prospects. We are strong, and skilled, but didn’t get the chance to showcase those skills. I would tell my friends who are lucky enough to get drafted, “Congratulations, you earned it!” I would say to my friends who don’t get their name called this year, “It’s not the end of your hockey career, keep working hard, don’t give up, and remember the amazing times we had getting this far.”
Those are wise words from a prospect born in 2005. Hopefully, Brenden McKay receives a similar call from his teammates on draft day.
The OHL Draft will be held June 4-5 virtually.