Following a strong 2020-21 season to which he made his professional hockey playing debut, Swan River product Riley McKay has re-signed with the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs for the coming year.
The 22-year-old concluded his junior career in 2019-20 and shifted to the professional ranks last season. Splitting time with both the ECHL’s Indy Fuel and the IceHogs, McKay put up a combined 34 penalty minutes in just 17 games, including one assist and 25 penalty minutes in 12 AHL contests.
“Riley made great strides last season with all of the development work we were doing before practice,” IceHogs Head Coach Derek King said. “He made huge improvements on his stickhandling, shooting, and skating, and his pace picked up and was noticeable near the end of the season. For a guy like that who plays with a little edge, I expect him to come into camp and fight for a position.”
Playing with grit is nothing new for the former Swan Valley Stampeder. In 54 games during the 2015-16 season, McKay tallied 12 goals, 34 points and 151 penalty minutes. He followed that up with four-straight seasons of 90+ penalty minutes seasons in the Western Hockey League with both the Spokane Chiefs and Saskatoon Blades.
With 38 goals, 87 points and 517 penalty minutes in 243 WHL career regular season games, McKay saw a steady improvement in his game, going from three and four goals scored in his first two seasons, to 12 and 19 in his final two years, respectively. His point totals grew from nine to 13, to 27, to 38 over the course of his career. He concluded his time with the Blades as one of the team’s alternate captains while logging 19 goals, 38 points and 93 penalty minutes in 62 games played.
The former Parkland Rangers U-15 and U-18 AAA star was originally selected in the 15th round of the 2016 USHL Draft, but the six-foot, 200-pound forward opted to go a more physical route. Since that time he has led the WHL in penalty minutes twice (2017-18, 2018-19) and has begun his professional career.