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Local hockey player set for Hockey Canada Summer Showcase

Cranbrook native Rylind MacKinnon will represent U SPORTS as they battle top teams
Rylind MacKinnon will be on the U SPORTS team at the Hockey Canada Summer Showcase where they faceoff against top competitors in Canada, Japan and France. Jessica Dempsey/Cranbrook Townsman

Cranbrook native Rylind MacKinnon will be facing off against top players at the Hockey Canada Summer Showcase.

MacKinnon is part of the U SPORTS Women’s Hockey All-Stars roster and will compete at the showcase in Calgary from Aug. 2-11.

“I’m pretty excited,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a pretty good experience to play against some pretty good competition, so I’m looking forward to it.”

The U SPORTS team will have games against Japan, France and various Team Canada squads.

“I’m really excited, kind of nervous,” said MacKinnon. “It should be really good. I’m excited to see the competition and to make me a better player hopefully.”

This will be the first time that she has played against international teams and making the U SPORTS team is a special accomplishment for MacKinnon.

“I’m pretty happy with it, and I’m just excited to showcase the [University of British Columbia] Thunderbird talent, and what UBC can bring. I’m really excited on behalf of the program,” she said.

There will be a couple of friendly faces for MacKinnon on her team, as she will also be joined by Thunderbirds teammate Hannah Koroll, as well she has the advantage of knowing Shae Demale from Saint Mary’s, whom she previously billeted with.

Despite being unfamiliar with most of her teammates, MacKinnon said she has been sticking to her training program to prepare for the upcoming games.

“Just sticking to the off-season training program and getting some ice before going out there. Then I guess we will just follow the team’s systems that the coach gives us once we show up,” she explained.

While she will be able to play against some strong teams at the showcase, MacKinnon says she hopes it will also be a stepping stone for her hockey career.

“Hopefully I can get an invite to the development team, Team Canada, and then go from there. I think this is some good exposure for me,” she said.

MacKinnon just wrapped up her rookie year at the University of British Columbia playing for the Thunderbirds, finishing the season with five goals and 10 assists for 15 points.

“It was pretty good and a lot of fun,” she said about her first year at UBC. “It was pretty successful I guess, I’m happy about that. I made the U SPORTS All-Rookie Team, so that was a pretty good accomplishment, and I’m hoping to build on that for the next few years.”

MacKinnon describes herself as a strong presence on the blue-line and tries to model her play after Rasmus Dahlin and Renata Fast.

“I have a pretty good blue-line presence and I can move the puck well, and I have a pretty good shot so I think that’s some of my strong suits,” she said.

Having started her hockey career in Cranbrook, MacKinnon first laced up her skates when she was four years old. Up until she was 15 years old, she played with the boys teams before moving away to join the Northern Alberta Xtreme women’s team in Edmonton, competing in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.

The U SPORTS team will have their first game against Japan on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

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