Dallas Stars prospect Jeff McKercher played with the Peterbourgh Petes of the OHL last season. During that time he had one goal, seven assists, and 22 PIMs in 65 regular season games. He also sported an impressive plus/minus rating of +32 during this same time period.
Although known for these examples of steady play and solid defense, McKercher is little known.
Please briefly describe your style of play for the readers not already familiar with you.
“I am a defensive defenseman who reads the ice well. I like to make the quick, first pass out of the defensive zone. I take pride in my work in penalty-killing situations.”
What do you feel that you could add to the Dallas defensive ranks in the future?
“I will strive to be a defensive defenseman with the Stars and hope that I will be a regular on the penalty-kill. I try to pattern myself after the play of Craig Ludwig.”
Do you see yourself ever becoming more of an offensive-minded player in the future?
“I would like to think that I might become a little bit more offensive to complement my defensive style. My skating is strong so hopefully with experience this part of my game will develop. I usually have been paired with an offensive defenseman and my job has been to stay back and hold the fort.”
What do you see as being your current strengths and weaknesses?
“I think that my one on one’s are one of my strengths (i.e. take the body). I also feel that my penalty killing is my other strength. As for my weakness I think the main thing would be that I have to be more offensive-minded.”
How would you best describe your leadership skills and intangibles on the ice & in the locker room?
” I am the type of player who speaks up in the dressing room when needed. I enjoy working with younger players on and off the ice like older players have done for me in the past. I also feel my work ethic is something that others might pick up on. I don’t quit no matter what the score, and I try to give 100 percent day in-day out.”
How has your move from Barrie to Peterborough effected your hockey development thus far?
“The move to Peterborough was the BEST thing that could have happened to my career. They lived up to and exceeded my expectations as the Major Junior Capital of Canada. I was given plenty of ice-time which gave me more self-confidence and helped every aspect of my game. The Petes have a great organization with an exceptional General Manager, Jeff Twohey, along with excellent coaches, Rick Allain and Steve Smith. The training staff, Parnell Peplinski and Will Huddlestone also were most helpful. They are an organization committed to winning and developing young players.”
You have a year of junior eligibility left, but are the K-Wings of the IHL an option for you next season?
“You always want to play at the highest level possible so definitely I would like to play in Michigan. That’s my goal but with an organization like Peterborough to fall back to, it’s definitely a win-win situation.”
Seeing that your recent 3 year deal with Dallas came at the deadline, could you give the readers an idea of what the negotiations entailed?
“My agent, Larry Kelly, looked after most of that end of it. I was encouraged after speaking to Craig Button at the Memorial Cup in Ottawa that I would be offered a contract. On May 31st it all came together and the contract was signed.”
Could you briefly describe your life & hobbies outside of hockey?
“I have wonderful parents, Gord &Carol, an older brother, Jason (23 years old) who have always followed my hockey and supported me through the good times and more importantly, through the bad times. We live in a small rural village (population 400) Moose Creek, which is close to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, Ontario. I have a close group of faithful friends from the surrounding area who keep in touch even though we have gone different ways (i.e. school, university, work etc.) My hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, tennis, squash, swimming and working out.”
Finally, how do you see yourself as a hockey player & a man some 5 years from now?
“As a hockey player I hopefully will have developed all aspects of my game with the K-Wings and will be getting an opportunity to play for the Stars. As a man—that’s a tough question. I hope to be a responsible, mature person who is independent and secure in what my role is in the community. I would imagine that I would be involved in the community in areas like speaking to school children, and volunteering to help under-privileged children who aren’t as fortunate as others.”