Mackenzie Skapski has taken the next step of his hockey career, signing an entry level contract with the New York Rangers on Friday.
The Kootenay Ice goaltender had been working out the details throughout the week with the organization, but made it official before the weekend.
“You play a season and you don’t really know what to expect,” said Skapski. “This is sort of a time where it’s more of a wait-and-see game and there are a lot more negotiations going on, but it just happened to work out for me this year and I’m very thankful for it.”
He was New York’s 170th overall selection in the sixth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Skapski played in 53 games with the Ice this season, good for a 2.70 goals against average and a 0.916 save percentage.
He tallied 28 wins—one in a shutout—while manning the crease in the regular season. He continued to come up big after regulation, picking up five of his victories in the shootout.
He missed part of the early season with a lower-body injury, sitting out for 10 games before returning to action, which was a self described turning point.
“I would say my consistency was better this year than it was the year before,” Skapski said. “Obviously, my first 10 games of the season, I had my ups and downs, and then I had my injury, but after, I felt I was very consistent all the way through.”
His second game back from injury, he made a career-high 51 saves to help the Ice steal a 3-1 win in Prince George against the Cougars.
He plans to spend the off-season in his hometown of Abbotsford, and will head to New York after the 2014 NHL Draft for a prospects camp.
But the real test will be in September, when he goes back to the East Coast for the main training camp, where he could have a chance to turn pro in the AHL or the ECHL.
“I’m really looking forward to it, so obviously, it’s opening a new chapter for next year or the year after,” said Skapski. “Like anything in hockey, nothing is guaranteed, but I’m sure I’ll have a chance at it and hopefully I can make the jump or return to Kootenay.”