Yukon’s Gavin McKenna breaks Canada Games record
Yukon’s 15-year-old hockey phenom Gavin McKenna made history at the Canada Games by setting a new scoring record in a men’s tournament at the games.
McKenna had already taken the PEI games by storm this week, helping the Men’s Team Yukon win more games than ever before at the event.
Then on Thursday, McKenna’s first-half goal against Newfoundland and Labrador put him in the history books. It was his 29th point of the week.
“It’s incredible,” McKenna said after the game.
“It’s definitely a cool thing and of course I wouldn’t have made it without my teammates. You were incredible. Coaching, trainer, it was amazing.”
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 in his hometown of Whitehorse.
McKenna was selected as the 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 considered a potential top pick if he qualifies for the 2026 NHL draft.
“Hopefully my career goes on,” he said.
“Definitely overwhelming,” says the proud mom
Back in Whitehorse, Gavin’s parents have been watching the excitement from afar. It’s always “nerve-wracking” to watch him play, mom Krystal McKenna said.
Gavin is a Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation citizen who grew up in Whitehorse and was enthusiastic about the game from an early age. His parents both played hockey, so passing their love of the game down to their only son was easy.
Still, Krystal admits the attention Gavin has received this week was “definitely mind-blowing.”
“My phone has been going pretty crazy, definitely the last few days here, and I can’t even imagine what he’s been through,” Krystal said.
“I think one of the words he used was ‘absurd.’ Everyone walking around is basically saying, “Oh, is that Gavin McKenna?” And they want pictures and they want autographs and they introduce themselves to him and yes, it sure is a lot.”
Krystal says she hasn’t even been able to talk to Gavin much on the phone this week, but he keeps in touch with messages every day. She thinks it’s “just something we’ll probably have to get used to.”
Gavin’s parents are already preparing not to see much of him this summer. He has a number of training camps and tournaments ahead of him in the coming months.
Krystal says she 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, says Krystal.
They’re also confident he’ll be in good hands when he’s gone, says Krystal, with a supportive team and trainers to help keep him on track.
“At least for me as a mother, it feels like every time I see him he’s 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 that since he’s gone,” Krystal said.
“But yeah, we’re just doing the memories when we can.”