Ex-NHLer takes on dual role with Real McCoy

Former NHL defenceman Jay McKee (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, aerialpromotions.ca)

Dundas welcomes back NHL defenceman Jay McKee as player coach. (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, aerialpromotions.ca)

Former long-time National Hockey League defenceman Jay McKee has signed on with the Dundas Real McCoys for a second season… this time as a playing coach.

It’s a move aimed at April 2014 when the Real McCoys will be host to senior hockey’s Allan Cup Tournament, and Dundas President and General Manager Don Robertson is getting ready for that challenge now with announcement of the signing of McKee.

“With Jay’s experience as an assistant coach in the American Hockey League we would be crazy not to have him,” said team president and general manager Don Robertson. “However, Kenny Mann and Ron Bernacci will still be very much involved in the coaching of the team.”

“This season will be huge for our franchise, and we feel that by having Jay, step-up as coach, it will only help us get to where we want to be,” added Robertson.

“This move is supported fully by Spud (Mann), and Bernacci, who have done tremendous work in the past to lead us to four (John Ross) Robertson Cups in the past five seasons. 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 for the past few years, and we will be available for whatever role Jay wants us to play on the coaching side as we all work together as a team.”

Robertson noted that Mann and Bernacci have increasing commitments in their business and personnel lives that are taking even more of their time.

McKee, a native of Kingston, played 802 regular season game in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, and Pittsburgh Penguins from 1995-2010 registering 21goals, 104 assists for 125 points. During that time, he played 60 playoff games in which he scored three times and had nine points. He was part of the Sabres organization for parts of 10 seasons, playing 582 games 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. After his playing career, he served as an assistant coach with the Rochester Americans during the 2011-12 AHL season. Prior to that, he was a volunteer coach with Niagara University Purple Eagles in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Hockey in the Atlantic Hockey Association in 2010-11.