Kennedy MacDonald lives and breathes hockey.
So much so, the 14-year-old defenceman from Hammonds Plains, N.S., has her
bedroom decked out with pictures, quotes, mementos, checklists and a Hockey
“I like to compete with myself,” says MacDonald. “I always try to get
better. I set goals for myself and I feel very accomplished when I work
Her love for the game began at age four when her mom Tracy took her out
skating and signed her up for hockey. Her dedication to the sport has
driven her to a number of accomplishments. But it’s only the beginning.
At 14, MacDonald is the youngest member of Metro Boston Pizza, host team
for the 2018 Esso Cup, and the youngest skater on any of the six rosters at
Canada’s National Female Midget Championship.
“It feels great, but this is something I have wanted and worked hard for,”
says MacDonald. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my coaches I’ve
had over the years and my teammates, especially this year, with being the
youngest on the team. They have opened their hearts to me and I feel like I
have a whole new family.”
MacDonald knocked a few things off her to-do list this season…
“A while ago, my goal was to make the U16 Hockey Nova Scotia team and I
achieved that,” she says. “My next goal was to play in the Midget AAA
league for Boston Pizza, which I am.”
So what’s next? Her next major goals include an appearance for her province
at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, then earn a scholarship to an NCAA
Division 1 school and “eventually, possibly, hopefully Team Canada one
She plans on achieving each one through hard work and pushing herself on
and off the ice.
“I am quite hard on myself, but I like to push myself and do all I can to
get to where I want to be,” MacDonald says. “There have been some
struggles, but there will always be struggles. As long as I am on the ice,
I am happy.”
John Cunningham has been coaching MacDonald since her second year in Peewee
and has seen her dedication lead to success.
“She’s a very focused individual. She is very dedicated, an extremely
hard-working person and she is a high achiever, not only in hockey but also
in school,” he says. “Kennedy has been a captain every second year and a
leader every year even when she doesn’t wear a letter.”
After every practice, Cunningham has his team run arena stairs to build
endurance. That exercise stayed with MacDonald.
“I told the girls, you may have a coach that doesn’t make you do stairs
like me. You have to push yourself,” Cunningham says. “I guess the next
year, the team disappeared and the coach was looking for them and Kennedy
had them out running stairs. She is very driven and a real positive force
and high energy.”
Despite being the youngest player on the Metro roster, Cunningham has used
MacDonald in all situations and she has proven to be up to the task of
playing against stronger and older competition.
“I think, first, she’s been given the opportunity. We had such a big
turnover with our defense with only five D and we didn’t have any returning
defence,” says Cunningham. “She was able to come in and we put a lot of
responsibility on her right away. She’s eaten that up and she’s been a very
good piece to our team. She has adjusted well to the speed of the game.”
MacDonald plays on the penalty kill and power play, anchoring the second
power play unit; those opportunities are some that she relishes most.
“I like having pressure put on me like that,” she says. “I feel like I
perform better in high-pressure situations like the penalty kill and power
play and it’s an honour being on those units.”
With lofty goals ahead of her, MacDonald keeps logos above her bed and
quotes on her wall to remind her to stay focused.
“When I wake up, I always think about what I am going to do that day to
push me towards those goals,” she says. “I keep the quotes and pictures up
and read them and think about how they affect me and how I can pursue my
And as if she needed any more motivation, MacDonald looks towards a few
Olympians for inspiration.
“Jill Saulnier is from Halifax and I admire her a lot because she is
smaller like me and she doesn’t let that stop her. Seeing her and Blayre
(Turnbull) on the Olympic team this year meant a lot to me. Jill is an idol