It’s been almost three months since our last Green Mountain Gals feature, however, we are back at it with newly signed Toronto Six forward, MacKenzie MacNeil. The Richmond Hill, Ontario native was skating on outdoor rinks in Canada before she even grew a love for hockey, and unlike most of the girls I talk to, MacKenzie went straight to hockey skates and never wore figure skates as a kid.
Time In Vermont
Most of the girls I’ve interviewed in this series mention that there is something truly special about the state of Vermont and UVM and MacNeil has the same opinion. “Vermont is truly an incredible place; I can’t think of a more beautiful place to have had the opportunity to play for those four years,” MacNeil said. It’s not only the scenery that made it special for MacKenzie, but she raves about The Gut (Gutterson Field House). “The Gut was the perfect college hockey rink to play in.
It has so much character to offer and the ice is still my favourite ice to skate on.” She goes on to mention how girls like Amanda Pelkey, Sammy Kolowrat and Madison Litchfield can prove to be role models for younger girls playing hockey in Vermont.
Returning Back To Her Roots
After graduating from UVM, MacNeil would head back home and spend a year in the CWHL with the Toronto Furies. There, she would play in 25 games, racking up two goals and two assists for four points. Once the CWHL folded, MacNeil went to Denmark to play eight games and she absolutely loved the experience.
“I had a great time playing in Denmark last season. Living in Copenhagen was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I really made the most of it. It helped that I had some incredible teammates that made my time off the ice very memorable. It was great to bring my playing experience over there to share with the girls and learn a lot about Danish culture while I was there.”
When she returned to Toronto, MacKenzie would end up joining the PWHPA where she would take part in the Secret Women’s Showcase. She would end up staying in Toronto, as earlier this season, she signed a contract to compete with the Six. “It’s an incredible opportunity and the program the Toronto Six has created is top-notch.”
“They’re treating us like true professionals and it’s really nice to see. We have such a great group of girls; it’s been really exciting seeing the team form and come together on the ice the last few weeks. We’ve got a really special group!” She also mentions that now that the Six are finally starting to hit the ice, everything is starting to feel real and that she’s excited to have her family in the stands.
She also talked about the impact the Six have just a year following the CWHL’s closure. “I believe that the addition of the Toronto Six to the NWHL was essential to continue the growth of women’s hockey in North America. It is essential for young girls growing up playing hockey to have the opportunity to watch the women’s game played at the highest level. Hearing our stories and watching us play gives them something to strive for in the future,” the forward concluded.
MacNeil and the Toronto Six are expected to begin play at the beginning of January.