Skapski returns from Rangers camp

Kootenay Ice netminder gets a few games in with the Blueshirts at an NHL prospect tournament in Michigan.

After getting a brief taste of professional hockey, Mackenzie Skapski knows what it’s going to take to make that next step.

The Kootenay Ice goaltender recently returned from a rookie camp with the New York Rangers, where he suited up for a pair of games in an NHL prospects tournament in Traverse City, in Michigan.

“Loved it,” said Skapski. “It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in hockey and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“It was definitely tough and I felt definitely one of the younger guys out there and I didn’t really feel like I was at the 25-year-old or 24-year-old level, but it was really good, just another thing to add under my belt.”

The Ice stopper got in two games out of four with the Blushirts; a 4-3 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes and a 4-2 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He turned away 21 shots against the ‘Canes and 31 against the Blue Jackets.

The prospects tournament is billed as a rookie event, however, it features players that have a bit of pro experience, or are looking to jump right into the pro ranks.

Skapski said he used the tournament as a way to see what it takes to be in game shape at that level, referencing the struggles that the Kootenay Ice prospects went through at the Tri-City Americans event.

“You just saw these guys go through Tri-Cities, and they’re just getting into game shape and kind of mid-season form,” said Skapski, “and that’s exactly what I was doing in Traverse City and I want to get in mid-season form early on and really take off.”

Skapski was picked up in the sixth round of the NHL Draft last June by the Rangers, and trekked out a day afterwards for a rookie development camp.

Despite some struggles early in the season last year, the Ice netminder seemed unbeatable in the second half, helping the team climb out of the WHL basement and into a playoff spot.

Mike Bergren, the goaltending coach for the club, signed on in November of last year and has worked at exploiting Skapski’s strengths and improving other areas of his game.

With Bergren at his side in the WHL, Skapski also got the chance to work with Benoit Allaire, the goaltending coach for the Rangers, while at the summer camp and the Traverse City prospects tournament.

“He’s really good,” said Skapski, of working with Allaire. “He knows his goaltending and [I’m] just taking bits and pieces from him and applying it to my game.”

Bergren has had limited contact with New York’s goaltending guru, but adds that it always helps to hear what other coaches have to say, especially from someone with Allaire’s background.

“He [Allaire] has relayed some information to me about what he’s looking for in certain situations, and some of it mirrors what we’ve done already and some of it’s a little bit different,” said Bergren, “and that’s good, because the feedback that I get from that, tells me that what we’ve done so far is good, now there’s some more things that we can work on.”

“…That’s a guy who’s got an excellent reputation in the NHL and he’s done nothing but pump out Vezina winners, so it’s pretty hard to look at that and not be influenced by that at all.”

While prospect Jayden Sittler and Wyatt Hoflin battle for a chance to get some ice time in the preseason, Skapski knows the Rangers will be watching from afar once the regular season gets going.

“There’s something in front of me that I can potentially look forward to and my success with the Kootenay Ice will determine that,” Skapski said.

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Repaving of Victoria Ave (3rd St. S. to 11th St. S.) began on Monday, June 12. Drivers are asked to please avoid the area for the remainder of the day, if possible. Please watch for and obey directions from flaggers and signage, as the detours will be moving regularly. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Road construction, repaving programs well underway

Local road construction and repaving work continue apace, as summer programs get… Continue reading

Vendors and customers at one of the Cranbrook markets in 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook Farmers Market updates operating hours for the summer

Markets will continue to run from 10a.m. to 1p.m. until October 30th

City council passed first reading of a text amendment to a downtown zoning bylaw that would permit the land use for a craft brewery. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Downtown zoning amendment allowing craft brewery passes first reading

An application is moving forward that will tweak a downtown zoning bylaw… Continue reading

City council deferred moving forward on a proposed development in Wildstone, requesting a meeting with the developer to get clarification on project details. Photo submitted.
Cranbrook city council debates proposed Wildstone development

Cranbrook city council held off on moving forward with a proposed apartment… Continue reading

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Old growth in the Columbia Valley, in the Kinbasket area. (Photo submitted)
Wildsight: Old-growth forests are being logged in Golden

Wildsight says that Canfor has been logging old growth at the Blaeberry headwaters

at the library
What’s on at the Cranbrook Public Library

By Mike Selby The Library is now open with extended hours (with… Continue reading

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Most Read