|MCWHINNEY SIGNS PRO DEAL|
|August 30, 2006 - Sault This Week|
graduate Dan McWhinney, the Sault Ste. Marie goalie who didn't start
playing the position until he was 16-years old, is taking advantage of
an opportunity to turn pro this season rather than attend New York's
Oswego University on an NCAA scholarship.
Since being scouted at a reality television show hockey camp earlier
this month, McWhinney received invites to attend eight minor pro hockey
camps in the fall and has settled on playing for the Fort Wayne Komets
after the United Hockey League team offered him a contract.
The 21-year old McWhinney recently took part in a reality hockey
television show series that will be aired beginning on Sept. 23.
"Making The Cut: Last Man Standing" was part of an invite camp process
that looked at 400 minor hockey players from across Canada.
McWhinney was then one of 38 finalists - including four goalies -
chosen to be part of the taping for the 22-episode series, which will
be aired on Global TV starting with the Sept. 23 episode.
Among those who took in "Making The Cut: Last Man Standing" was Mike
Keenan, general manager of the National Hockey League's Florida
At any rate, so impressive was McWhinney at the "Making The Cut" camp,
which was held in Vernon, B.C. - he received positive feedback from
Keenan and Panthers' director of hockey operations Jack Birch - that he
decided to turn pro rather than go the NCAA route with Oswego.
McWhinney then tendered the services of Dave Maciuk, a Chicago-based
player agent and Sault Ste. Marie native, who helped the young goalie
hook up with Fort Wayne.
McWhinney will report to Fort Wayne's camp on Oct. 2 and battle veteran
Kevin St. Pierre for playing time with the Komets, who are part of the
11-team UHL which features several Michigan franchises including ones
in Flint, Muskegon, Port Huron and Kalamazoo.
Going to Fort Wayne to play pro following his participation in "Making
The Cut" is the latest chapter in McWhinney's startling ascent as a
goalie. A forward as a minor hockey player in the Sault, McWhinney
started playing goal at age 16 when his high school hockey team at
White Pines needed a backup tender.
He then progressed to become the starting goalie at White Pines before
moving up to play Jr. B with Terrace Bay of the North of Superior
Hockey League and then two seasons of Jr. A with Stouffville of the
Ontario Provincial Hockey League. With Stouffville in '05-06, McWhinney
led his upstart team to the league finals, playing in 31 straight
"It's really unbelievable how all of this has worked out," said
McWhinney. "There's been a ton of little quirks for me this past year.
The hockey gods are on my side."