By Larry Robertson, Special to The News
It may be August, and the only snow that’s fallen is in Antarctica, but the Dundas Real McCoys are getting set to take a run at the 2014 Allan Cup title.
Next April, the Real McCoys will host to the 2014 Allan Cup Tournament, and Dundas president and general manager Don Robertson is getting ready for the challenge now with announcement of the signing of former long-time National Hockey League defenceman Jay McKee for a second season — this time as the club’s playing coach.
”With Jay’s experience as an assistant coach in the American Hockey League, we would be crazy not to have him,” said Robertson. “However, Kenny Mann and Ron Bernacci will still be very much involved in the coaching.”
Robertson added the coming season will be huge or the franchise.
“We feel that by having Jay step up as coach, it will only help us get to where we want to be,” Robertson said.
Robertson said the move is supported fully by Mann and Bernacci.
“The have done tremendous work in the past to lead us to four (John Ross) Robertson Cups in the past five seasons,” said Robertson. “We all have the same single goal in mind, to win the Allan Cup for our fans, players, and the community.”
”The three of us have run the bench (Allan Cup Hockey) for the past few years, and we will be available for whatever roll Jay wants us to play on the coaching side as we all work together as a team.”
Robertson said both Mann and Bernacci have increasing commitments in their business and personnel lives that are taking up more of their time.
McKee, a native of Kingston, played 802 regular season gams in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins from 1995-96 and 2009-10, registering 21 goals and104 assists for 125 points.
During that time, he played 60 NHL playoff games, scoring three times.
McKee was part of the Sabres organization for parts of 10 seasons, playing a total of 582 games for the club from 1995-2006.
He was selected by Buffalo 14th overall in the 1995 NHL entry draft and was an Ontario Hockey League second team all-star in his final season of Junior hockey in 1996.
Throughout his career, McKee was regarded as one of the NHL’s best shot-blocking defencemen. Following his playing career, he served as an assistant coach with the Rochester Americans.
Prior to that, he was a volunteer coach with Niagara University Purple Eagles.