Photo by Hickling Images
The United States Hockey League announced today that Green Bay Gamblers defenseman Connor Mackey has been named 2017 USHL Defenseman of the Year as determined by a vote of League general managers. The Madison Capitols abstained from nominations and final voting this season.
Mackey played in all 60 games for the Gamblers during the 2016-17 season, amassing 47 points (6G, 41A). His 47 points led all defenseman and were 16th among all USHL players. Mackey led all blueliners and was third in the USHL with his 41 assists, and was the only defenseman to finish in the top-20 in USHL scoring.
Mackey tallied multiple points 15 times this season, including three consecutive multi-point performances from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5. Mackey had a five-game point streak from Oct. 20 through Nov. 5 and a four-game point streak from Dec. 9 through December 17, with three two-point games in that span. Mackey put up a four-game point streak over the course of the season from Jan. 27 through Feb. 4, with eight assists in four games, and also had a pair of three-game point streaks (Feb. 25 to March 4 and March 17 to March 19). He dished out multiple assists 11 times, including a four-assist game in a 5-2 win over the Bloomington Thunder on Jan 27. Mackey led all USHL players with 30 power-play assists and 34 power-play points, and his four goals on the man advantage were the third-most in the league among defensemen.
Mackey was named USHL Defenseman of the Week four times, including back-to-back weekly honors on Oct. 31 and Nov. 7. In that stretch, he tallied eight points (2G, 6A) in four games. He also earned the award twice in three weeks late in the season, and was named USHL Defenseman of the Week on March 6 and March 20.
2016-17 marks Mackey's second season in the USHL. In 89 career USHL games, the Barrington, IL native has 49 points (7G, 42A). Mackey was selected in the 13th round, 197th overall by the Green Bay Gamblers in the 2015 USHL Phase II Draft. Prior to his time in Green Bay, Mackey spent time with Team Illinois (HPHL) and Barrington High (USHS). Mackey is committed to play his college hockey at Minnesota State University, Mankato following his USHL career.
Mackey joins former Green Bay Gamblers Andy Welinski (2011-12), David Makowski (2009-10), Jeff Finger (1999-00) and Tom Preissing (1998-99) as recipients of the USHL Defenseman of the Year award.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.