Josh McKinnon is a towering defenceman for the Nipissing Lakers. Hailing from Brackley Beach, Prince Edward Island, he amassed 27 goals and 68 points as well as 318 PIM during 118 games through three seasons with the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.
When it came time to decide which university he'd play for, he chose Nipissing over UPEI as he believed it would be easier to crack the Lakers lineup in the club's first year in OUA hockey.
“It just felt like I was more wanted up here,” McKinnon said “With a new team, I thought that I could step in right away.”
McKinnon's coach with the Lakers, Mike McParland said the 21 year old has a lot of positives going for him as an intimidator in the OUA, who brings ample attributes to the team.
“His physical size is probably number one,” McParland said with a grin on his face.
“He’s a huge man, as well he’s very good on the Power-Play...He probably has the hardest shot on our team,”
added McParland about that shot that accounted for the game winning overtime goal against the Gee Gee's last week at Memorial Gardens.
McParland was able to lure McKinnon to Memorial Gardens because he spoke highly of him during the recruiting process.
“He said he thought that I could come right in and step in and be a top player,” McKinnon said. “I took it as a complement that he liked my ability. So it seemed like a good fit.”
North Bay is a great place to play hockey and attend school, McParland said he things that was a deciding factor in bringing him over from PEI.
“We talked him into coming to Nipissing because of what we could offer him as a school, City, arena and fan base,” McParland explained.
The former European League coach said he received a bit of help in landing McKinnon from his close friend, and teammate, Chad McQuaid.
“His friend was Josh McKinnon, so that worked out pretty well that we were able to get Josh and Chad to come to North Bay,” McKinnon said enthusiastically.
McKinnon admits playing in the OUA is much different than what he's used to in the Maritimes.
“The speed is definitely different. Guys are a lot older, a lot stronger,” McKinnon acknowledged. “You just have to adapt to it.”
McKinnon’s mother is head of the Narcotics Unit for the RCMP, and part of the reason he chose to come to Nipissing in the first place was because they offered a Criminology program.
“Growing up around Cops and always being at the station kind of gave me a love for it,” McKinnon admitted. “I’d like to follow in her footsteps. When I heard these guys (Nipissing University) had a Criminology program, it just fit right into my plans.”