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MacKinnon describes returning home to finish junior career with Western Capitals as 'pure excitement'

Carson MacKinnon of Summerside in action with the Gatineau Olympiques in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game against the Charlottetown Islanders at Eastlink Centre earlier this season.
Carson MacKinnon of Summerside in action with the Gatineau Olympiques in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game against the Charlottetown Islanders at Eastlink Centre earlier this season. - Jason Malloy

Summerside native expected to make debut at home Thursday

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

Carson MacKinnon is returning home.

The 20-year-old Summerside native has signed with the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League.
“It’s kind of surreal,” MacKinnon told the Journal Pioneer in a phone interview on Friday night. “It’s been a long day.
“The Caps were always the team to watch when you were a kid growing up in Summerside. I got to see them win a few championships and got to see them make it to the RBC Cup.
“I know this team this year, from reading online, watching them play and knowing most of the players, they are ranked as one of the best in the country for a reason. It’s pure excitement to go home and have the chance to win a championship, especially in my hometown. For my last year of junior, it’s extra special.”
MacKinnon was the only move the Caps made before Friday’s trade deadline.
“There were opportunities and most of them were 20-year-olds,” said Capitals general manager Pat McIver. “The prices were quite high, even on the 20-year-olds.
“We really like our team and we didn’t want to bring in anybody just for the sake of bringing them in. I think I have done one transaction this year and I know there are teams in our league who have done between 15 and 20.
“If we brought in a guy, we wanted to make sure it was the right guy and Carson MacKinnon is the right guy.”

Major junior experience
MacKinnon, who was in his fifth season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after playing four years with the Rimouski Oceanic and the first half of the 2019-20 campaign with the Gatineau Olympiques, is joining a team with championship aspirations that sports a Maritime Junior Hockey League-best record of 29-5-1 (won-lost-overtime losses).
“It’s a great pick-up for us,” said Caps head coach Billy McGuigan. “He’s a great player, he’s a character guy, has five years of experience in the Quebec league, is a Summerside-born player that is going to come back with lots of pride and determination with the same goal in mind as the rest of us.”
MacKinnon is expected to make his debut with the Caps on Thursday night against the Edmundston Blizzard at Eastlink Arena. It will mark his first time playing for a Summerside team since he was 13. He moved to Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., when he was 14 and after two years attending school there and playing for the Hounds he made the jump to Rimouski.
“It’s tough to put into words how excited I am to finally be home and be able to play in front of my family and friends,” said the son of John and Mona MacKinnon of Summerside. “Being home is special, but having the opportunity to play with my best buddies in front of my family and friends will make it that much more special.”
MacKinnon, whose brother Ryan completed his major junior career with the Charlottetown Islanders and is currently playing in the New York Islanders’ system, will be joining some familiar faces with the Caps.
“(Current Caps) Brodie MacArthur, Kallum Muirhead, Brodie MacMillan, Cam Roberts and I are all best friends and are around each other during the summer,” said MacKinnon. “I know they have a sour taste in their mouth with getting knocked out in the second round the past few years and I know they want a championship really bad.
“I’m looking to come back and help out any way possible to make sure Summerside gets what they deserve.”
McIver was relieved to finally add MacKinnon after some long days.
“We are so glad it came through at the end and it came right down to the wire and we are happy to have Carson back in Summerside,” said McIver.

20-year-olds
The addition of MacKinnon moves the Caps over the limit of eight 20-year-olds that MHL teams are allowed.
“We have a move we have to make because of our 20-year-old situation and hopefully we will have something soon,” said McIver.
The addition of MacKinnon leaves the Caps with four open cards that can be filled up to Feb. 10 with players who were not signed with teams on Jan. 10.


Numbers

  • Carson MacKinnon’s statistics in QMJHL:
  • 2015-16
  • Rimouski Oceanic
  • Regular Season
  • 65 games, 7 goals, 7 assists, 14 points.
  • Playoffs
  • 6 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point.
  • 2016-17
  • Rimouski Oceanic
  • Regular Season
  • 65 games, 13 goals, 14 assists, 27 points.
  • Playoffs
  • 4 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points.
  • 2017-18
  • Rimouski Oceanic
  • Regular Season
  • 65 games, 13 goals, 22 assists, 35 points.
  • Playoffs
  • 7 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point.
  • 2018-19
  • Rimouski Oceanic
  • Regular Season
  • 68 games, 16 goals, 30 assists, 46 points.
  • Playoffs
  • 13 games, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points.
  • 2019-20
  • Gatineau Olympiques
  • Regular Season
  • 39 games, 6 goals, 26 assists, 32 points.

Jason.simmonds@journalpioneer.com
Twitter.com/JpsportsJason
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