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Jason Simmonds
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MacKinnon excited to play final year of junior with Isles

SUMMERSIDE – There will be one major difference for Ryan MacKinnon this hockey season.

He will be back in his home province. The son of John and Mona MacKinnon of Summerside will play on Prince Edward Island for the first time since he left for Saskatchewan to attend school and play for the famed Notre Dame Hounds.

“I’m very, very excited,” said MacKinnon, who was a celebrity guest for the 25th anniversary of the Sports Celebrities Festival luncheon in support of Special Olympics P.E.I. at Credit Union Place in Summerside on Tuesday. “The last time I would have played at home would have been back in bantam in Summerside.”

MacKinnon, who turns 20 on Sept. 5, will make the trek down Highway 2 for his final year of junior hockey with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“I’m kind of a do-it-all defenceman,” answered MacKinnon after being asked to describe his style of play. “I like to take care of my own end, defence first.

“I’m not scared to jump up into the play when I see that opportunity. I’ll be a two-way defenceman who can play in all situations.”

Islanders general manager Grant Sonier, also a Summerside native, acquired MacKinnon in a trade with the Rimouski Oceanic in May.

MacKinnon, who was a regular on the Oceanic blue-line the last three years, is looking to bring “that leadership aspect” to the Islanders after serving as team captain in Rimouski for the 2013-14 campaign.

“I’m going to say I’m one of the older guys now, which is weird,” said a smiling MacKinnon. “Whatever I can do to help the Islanders win is what I’ll be ready for.

“I’m definitely a lead-by-example kind of guy for the younger guys.”

MacKinnon acknowledges there will be added pressure of playing at home, but he pointed out “there is always pressure” regardless where a player is playing.

"I’m very, very excited. The last time I would have played at home would have been back in bantam in Summerside.” Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Ryan MacKinnon

“You have to have fun with it,” continued MacKinnon. “I’ve been getting a lot of calls from friends and family saying how excited they are and they are already buying tickets.

“There is that pressure part, but I’m more anxious than nervous to get the season started.”

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

Numbers

Ryan MacKinnon’s stats

with Rimouski Oceanic:

2011-12

Games: 56

Goals: 1

Assists: 12

Points: 13

Penalty minutes: 19

Plus-minus: -5

2012-13

Games: 66

Goals: 5

Assists: 17

Points: 22

Penalty minutes: 37

Plus-minus: -2

2013-14

Games: 66

Goals: 4

Assists: 18

Points: 22

Penalty minutes: 28

Plus-minus: +31

Organizations: Islanders, Credit Union Place, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan Notre Dame Rimouski

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