Jeremy McKenna always dreamed of playing in the NHL.
The Summerside native is one step closer after signing a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat, on Tuesday.
“It's a dream come true,” McKenna said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s another step closer but there’s still lots to prove and lots of work to be done. . . It’s a good opportunity for me with a good team and a good organization.”
Known as the Summerside Sniper to many, McKenna is coming off back-to-back strong seasons with the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
After a 36-goal, 77-point 2017-18, the five-foot-10, 174-pound right-winger scored 45 goals and had 97 points this season to open even more eyes in the hockey world.
McKenna was never drafted by an NHL team. He attended the Arizona Coyotes’ camp last year and was invited to the Dallas Stars’ camp from June 24-28.
After the Stars camp, he jumped at an opportunity to attend the Flames’ camp. He grew up cheering for the Flames as his family lived in Alberta before moving to the Island.
“It’s been a rollercoaster, the last couple of weeks,” McKenna acknowledged.
He received the contract offer from Calgary Tuesday night and took some time to think about it before signing on the dotted line.
“It’s a good opportunity for me to step in there. . . I’m really excited about getting a chance next year in the American league,” McKenna said. “It’s something I’ve worked towards – turning professional – so it feels really good. It’s a little bittersweet too, leaving Moncton, somewhere I spent the last three years. (But) it’s why you play in the Quebec league to move on to the next league, so I am excited and looking forward to the opportunity.”
McKenna will be attending the Calgary Flames' camp on Sept. 5.
There will be some familiar faces there including Jakob Pelletier, the Flames’ first-round pick and McKenna’s teammate from Moncton, and Summerside native Alex Gallant, who is also signing with the Flames.