Yukon's Gavin McKenna breaks Canada Games scoring record
Yukon's 15-year-old hockey phenom Gavin McKenna has made history at the Canada Games, having set a new record for points scored in a men's tournament at the games.
McKenna had already taken the games on P.E.I. by storm this week, helping the Team Yukon men's squad rack up more wins than ever at the event.
Then on Thursday, McKenna's first-period goal against Newfoundland and Labrador, followed by a third-period assist, put him in the history books. That game took him to 29 points for the week.
"It's unbelievable," McKenna said after the game.
"It's a cool thing for sure, and obviously couldn't have done it without my teammates. They were unbelievable. Coaching, trainers, it was unbelievable."
The previous record was 27 points, set by Quebec's Francois Methot in 1997, and then repeated by New Brunswick's Kelsey Tessier in 2007 — the year McKenna was born, and in his hometown of Whitehorse.
McKenna was selected as first pick by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 2022 Western Hockey League Draft — a first for any Yukon player. Scouts say he's already seen as a potential top pick when he's eligible for the NHL draft in 2026.
"Hopefully my career keeps going," he said.
'Definitely overwhelming,' says proud mom
Back in Whitehorse, Gavin's parents have been following the excitement from afar. It's always "nerve-wracking," to watch him play, said mom Krystal McKenna.
Gavin is a Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation citizen who grew up in Whitehorse and got hooked on the game at a young age. His parents both played hockey so it was easy to pass along their love of the game to their only son.
Still, Krystal admits that the attention Gavin's received this week has been "definitely overwhelming."
"My phone's been going pretty crazy, definitely for the last couple of days here, and I can't even imagine what he's been going through," Krystal said.
"I think one of the words he used was, it's 'absurd.' Everyone, when he walks around the area, is basically saying like, 'oh, is that Gavin McKenna?' And they want pictures and they want autographs and they're introducing themselves to him and yeah, it's a lot for sure."
Krystal says she hasn't even been able to talk to Gavin much on the phone this week, but he's keeping in touch everyday with texts. She figures it's "just something I guess we have to get used to."
Gavin's parents are already preparing to not see much of him this summer. He's got some training camps and tournaments in the coming months.
Krystal says she's doesn't like the idea of her 15-year-old son being away so much, but they're proud of him and want him to follow his dreams. He's very grounded and mature for his age, Krystal says.
They're are also confident that he's in good hands when he's away, Krystal says, with a supportive team and coaches who help keep him on track.
"It feels like for me at least, as a mom, that every time I see him he's, you know, just a little bit older and a little bit different, a little bit more mature. And, you know, you definitely kind of feel like you missed out on some of it, with him being away," Krystal said.
"But yeah, we just make the memories when we can."