SUMMERSIDE – Carson MacKinnon admits the time is flying by.
The 19-year-old Summerside native acknowledges “it’s crazy to think I’m heading into my fourth year of junior.” MacKinnon plays with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
Familiarity and some sound advice from his older brother, Ryan, who captained the Oceanic and the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders, has made for a positive experience.
“It seems like yesterday I was at Notre Dame (in Wilcox, Sask.), and I was getting drafted by Rimouski,” said MacKinnon, who is listed as a six-foot and 172-pound left-winger. “Ryan told me to take it all in while you can, because it all goes by fast. When you first hear that, you don’t really take it seriously. He was definitely right.”
The Oceanic is coming off a 93-point regular season on the strength of a 42-17-6-3 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) record, which was good for third overall in the 18-team league. A seven-game series loss to the 14th-seeded Moncton Wildcats (27-33-5-3) in the opening round of the playoffs resulted in an earlier than expected end to the season.
“As tough as it was last year to lose in the first round of the playoffs after having such a great season, I think in the end it will help us with how young we were last year,” offered MacKinnon. “It was a good learning experience for a lot of us.
“With some of the trades we made, and some of the players we got, I think for sure we can be a contending team this coming season.”
MacKinnon, who has seen his point totals increase in his first three years with the Oceanic, said his goals for the 2018-19 campaign are focused on team success.
“I had a very big summer of training, so I’m going to go in there and try to be a leader right from the start,” said MacKinnon, who captained the P.E.I. male hockey team at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. “For me, there are some personal goals I want to accomplish this year, but at the end of day I want to make sure our team is on the right path during the season, and we get off to the right start of the year.” MacKinnon said he would like to continue increasing his offensive production, but quickly added he’s not going to worry about numbers.
“I’ll start worrying about numbers when I’m not getting the chances I want to get,” continued MacKinnon. “I’ll just play my game, and I’ll be fine with the numbers.”
With his brother having played three seasons with the Oceanic from 2011 to 2014, knowing the community and having the ability to speak French, Carson’s transition to life in Rimouski has been a smooth one.
“I was fortunate enough that my parents (John and Mona MacKinnon) forced me to take French Immersion growing up. I kind of lost it, but up in Rimouski I can get away with having a conversation.
“Also, I was lucky enough to have the same billet that my brother had when he was up there. When I would go up to visit Ryan I would be there with him. It made moving there a little easier, knowing where I’m going and what the billet family is like.
“Fan-wise in Rimouski, I’m not sure there is anything like it. No matter how many people there are, it’s always going to be a loud rink. It’s such a fun spot to play. The fans are great, and the organization treats you unbelievable.”