Mackenzie MacEachern sat between teammates Thomas Ebbing and Chris Wilberding after Saturday’s Division 2 hockey championship game, and said he was just happy to win it with his “buds.”
A decision he made nearly a year ago allowed for that opportunity.
The Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice senior is a rarity in high school hockey. As reported by the Oakland Press a few weeks ago, MacEachern was drafted into the North American Hockey League last spring – but instead of leaving for that next step up the hockey ladder as is usually done, he put it off to play one more year. Instead, he continued to play with his high school friends – and claimed the championship that eluded them the year before.
After falling in the 2011 Division 2 Final, MacEachern and Brother Rice beat Grosse Pointe South 4-1 on Saturday to claim their first MHSAA championship since 2005. He’s committed to join Michigan State’s hockey program sometime in the new two years, and will now play at the junior level for at least a season before making the college jump.
“It was unfinished business, basically. We didn’t win it last year,” MacEachern said. “I wanted to come back and try to win it with my team. And it happened.”
MacEachern gets one of this week’s Second Half High 5s after what was arguably the most impressive season of any player in Michigan this winter.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound forward finished with 42 goals and 48 assists despite playing in the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League, which features most of the best teams from the Detroit area including half of the eight semifinalists in Divisions 1 and 2 at Compuware Arena.
His final-week stat sheet was a snapshot of his season as a whole.
MacEachern followed a five-assist performance in the Quarterfinal with four goals and an assist in a 5-0 Semifinal win over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern. He added one final goal in the 3-1 win over Grosse Pointe South.
“(He) gives us the opportunity to let other guys step up and be that guy,” Brother Rice coach Lou Schmidt, Jr., said. “Mack has scored a lot of points for us. Thomas Ebbing, he’s also one of the guys; he’s a junior. We’ve got Russell Cicerone, Ross Haffey; these guys are going to be seniors next year. They’ve got a lot of points to fill, but I’ve got complete confidence that they’ll fill it.”
MacEachern and the Warriors finished 25-4-1 this season.
“We’ve grown up together. Our chemistry is just unbeatable,” Ebbing said. “I just give him the puck, and I know he’s got the greatest shot. You can tell by his goals. He’s a great player to play with.”