On Friday, the Minot State University Beavers officially welcomed Winnipeg product, Mia McKee to the fold for the 2021-22 season. The 17-year-old has formally agreed to commit to the hockey program and take postsecondary education 465 kilometres southwest of her hometown in North Dakota.
McKee is currently in her second season suiting up for the RINK Hockey Academy in Manitoba’s capital, where the 2020-21 season is under suspension due to the current COVID-19 global pandemic. The small forward is a key component of the U-18 prep squad coached by Maggie Litchfield-Medd.
“I see myself as a team player,” McKee previously told Game On. “I like to pass the puck and I always think first about where my teammates are going to be. I’m an aggressive player, too. I wasn’t always like that, but I’ve learned how to use my body.”
McKee stands just 5-foot-4 and tips the scales at 120 pounds, but according to her second-year coach, she plays significantly larger than her slight figure may indicate.
“She’s not very big, but she has good hands and can find the back of the net,” said Litchfield-Medd. “When she gets the chances, she’s putting them in. She can also clean up pucks and is a great option in the two-on-one. She’s a great kid who works hard; she’s trying to get better every day and she’s very offensive-minded. She has a sick forehand-backhand move. And when she gets a break, she has an eye for the net. She’s a good player.”
Although only having played three games before all sporting schedules were put on pause – due to the most recent health and safety restrictions put in place by Manitoba’s governing officials – the 17-year-old managed to find two goals and an assist, helping herself maintain a point-per-game pace in the early going.
In 24 regular season games in 2019-20, McKee finished second in scoring for RHA with 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points and an impressive 1.5 point-per-game rate. She also earned another second-place finish in the penalty department, with 18 minutes in regular season play. The tough speedster’s numbers last season were also good enough for a sixth-place finish league-wide within the 16-team Canadian Sport School Hockey League.
Having been born in Winnipeg, but spending part of her childhood living with Manitoba’s northern community of The Pas before returning to her birthplace, McKee understands the importance of a good education, and that is what she hopes to acquire while studying at Minot State University. Even a season ago, the apt learner had her eye on the Beavers.
“I really want to go to university and continue with hockey too,” McKee told Game On. “I’m kind of looking for something with speech pathology; I’ve been looking closely at Minot State. Lots of girls I know are talking to ACHA teams, so that would be pretty awesome.”
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