Points tend to come in bunches for junior defenseman Kyle Mackey, and both of his power-play goals and all three of his assists have come in the past five games. He and his fellow blue liners have helped spark the Falcons’ offense from the point in the past month. Given his skill at hammering one-timers into the net, we sent some sweet feeds his way recently.
What are you thankful for?
Definitely, the position I’m in, being in school here. For all the guys here in the locker room and all the support, and for my family back home in Buffalo.
You have the luxury of taking several road trips close to home each season. That must be a nice perk?
My family is living in Buffalo, so they see me play just as much as if they lived out here, which is nice. Mercyhurst is an hour, RIT is an hour away. Canisius and Niagara are a half away from where they live. And Robert Morris is three hours south.
Is one of those a favorite road trip then?
I definitely like Buffalo. I miss the food there, and we always eat out and eat pretty well on the road. Just being downtown and seeing all my friends and family come out to see us playing is really nice.
What’s the best part of Academy life?
Just knowing you have a job coming out of here. A lot of my peers back home who have graduated or are graduating this year just don’t know what they’re going to do when they get out. Just knowing that they’re setting you up right and everything that they give you here, with the academics and military training, makes you a well-rounded person. I’d say overall that’s the best part of what they do for you at the Academy.
How do you balance it all?
I struggled with it my freshman year. It’s just something new. It’s like a locker room, you’ve got to buy in to the situation and how everyone goes about their lives. Just find a system. Once I got adapted to it, it comes pretty easily. You find your way around things, what you can and can’t do, you just get used to it.
Did you have a favorite player growing up?
I really enjoyed watching Tim Connolly (of the Buffalo Sabres). He wasn’t a big player. I’m more of an offensive defenseman. I’ve always liked the offensive part of the game, and he always caught my eye on the ice. He wasn’t the best player, but some of the plays he’d make would catch my eye. I always enjoyed watching him.
Is there a team comedian?
We have a couple of them. They work in tandem with each other – Jordan Himley, Shane Starrett and Evan Feno. They surround me in the locker room so I get the most of it. I always get to hear a lot of what they’re saying. They’re always talking in the locker room and dancing around or what not. Even after games they’re all excited. I’d say those three as a unit are the biggest comedy guys.
Do you like music?
I like every kind of music. The biggest genre would be country. … We go to a lot of country concerts, which is pretty enjoyable.
Are you particular about any of your gear?
I was when I was younger. I’m not picky about what I have, but I am with how I put it on. I have to put it on in a certain order. Always left to right. Left shin pad, left skate. Right shin pad, right skate. … I don’t know if I really notice it any more, it’s kind of a habit. If I do screw up the way I put it on, I’ll notice after it’s all on.
What is the breakfast of champions?
I’d have some fruit like strawberries, pineapples. Some cereal, nothing too heavy, especially before a game. I don’t like a lot of eggs before a game. Maybe some yogurt.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
I played soccer up until I was 9 or 10. I played baseball and lacrosse up until sophomore year of high school. I was told that year it was nice to play a lot of sports but it was time to pick one sport and pursue it, so I picked hockey. I enjoyed that a lot. I’d say lacrosse kind of like a hockey game, got me ready for the positioning and the conditioning in the offseason. I couldn’t run. I’d rather skate.