© Journal Pioneer File Photo
Retiring Summerside Western Capitals trainer Lawrence MacKinnon, left, is pictured on the bench during the 2013 RBC Cup Canadian junior A hockey championship in Summerside. Alongside MacKinnon on the bench is Tim Schurman, who is the current head coach of the Caps.
By Stephanie Drummond
SUMMERSIDE - Lawrence MacKinnon, medical trainer for the Summerside Western Capitals, has decided to retire.
The decision comes with a heavy heart, notes MacKinnon, whose jobs outside of the Caps have become more demanding and he says he’s getting older.
“My time is up, it’s time for someone younger,” said MacKinnon. “But, if they (Caps) ever need something, I’ll be there.”
MacKinnon’s brother (John) is a former part owner of the Caps, and he decided he would like to be involved with the team. He has been with the Caps for 14 years, starting out selling 50/50 tickets in 2000. He then moved up to equipment manager, and a few years ago became medical trainer.
Ownership of the Caps changed last year, and MacKinnon stayed.
“The previous ownership was really good, and the new ownership has resurrected junior hockey in the city,” said MacKinnon. “They have both been so good to me.”
MacKinnon is a devoted Caps’ fan, and says he’s going to miss the players and staff.
“It’s like a family affair,” he continued. “You’re with these guys from late August to fall to winter and then spring.
“Last year (it was) till May (when the Caps hosted the RBC Cup national championship tournament). So, you really get to know everyone.”
One of the many memorable moments for MacKinnon is the Caps’ win in the 2010 Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian junior A hockey championship.
“In Moncton, double overtime, gold-medal game,” said MacKinnon in setting the stage. “One of my favourite players (Mike MacIsaac) scored (the winning goal).
“My time is up, it’s time for someone younger. But, if they (Caps) ever need something, I’ll be there.” Lawrence MacKinnon
“It was a fulfilling moment, on the edge of our seats. We won the right to go to B.C. (for the RBC Cup).”
Since announcing his retirement from the Caps, MacKinnon has been receiving tons of support from the community.
“Overwhelming support,” he added. “I didn’t realize people knew what I did.”
MacKinnon has received emails from former players and staff, wishing him the best.
One of those supporters is Danny Perry, a member of the Caps’ current ownership group.
“We’re sorry to see him go,” said Perry.
The rebuilding Caps, who are graduating just three players from this year’s roster, posted a very respectable 24-23-2-3 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) record in the regular season. The Caps lost in five games to the first-place Miramichi Timberwolves in the best-of-seven Roger Meek Division semifinal series. Three of the Caps’ four losses in the series were by one goal.
“They have all improved over the year,” said MacKinnon. “Next year, they will all have more experience.”
MacKinnon is excited to view the games next year from a different angle.
“Maybe I’ll sit in the stands and enjoy the game and relax,” he added.