Quaker Valley’s MacDonald selects Amherst for hockey

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Monday, December 18, 2017 | 11:00 PM


Quaker Valley senior Kenzie MacDonald plans to play hockey in college but blocked that out when deciding where to continue her career.

MacDonald recently committed to the Amherst women's team for the 2018-19 season.

“When I visited colleges, the most important question that I asked myself was if I would be happy if hockey wasn't in the picture,” MacDonald said. “When I visited Amherst, I not only fell in love with the hockey program, but more importantly, with the school itself.”

MacDonald, a defender on the Penguins Elite 19U girls squad and a former Quaker Valley player, focused on programs in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Besides Amherst — a private liberal arts college in western Massachusetts — she considered Middlebury, Williams and Wesleyan.

MacDonald bonded with Amherst coach Jeff Matthews.

“He had clear expectations of me from the beginning, and I'm confident he will push me to my potential on and off the ice,” MacDonald said. “When I walked into the rink for the first time and sat down in his office, I noticed the legal pad of notes he had on me, and I watched him laugh as he wrote down that my dad is Canadian.

“It was stuff like that that really set him apart. I know his goal is to win another NESCAC championship, and I'm hopeful to be part of a team that does.”

The Mammoths were league champions in 2007, '08 and '10 and runners-up last season. They went on to win NCAA Division III titles in 2009 and 2010.

MacDonald, who plans to study English, expects Amherst to open many doors for her.

“I absolutely loved the atmosphere,” she said. “It's safe, very easy to get around and has a ton of great restaurants,” she said.

MacDonald earned a silver medal as part of the Penguins Elite 16U team at the USA Hockey Girls Tier-1 national championship tournament earlier this year.

Brad Michalski coached MacDonald on that team and said she was dedicated and steady.

Chris Stern, her current coach, looks for MacDonald to thrive with the Mammoths.

“Kenzie's desire for continuous improvement on the ice and in the classroom will serve her well at Amherst,” he said. “Her passion for hockey and her team-first attitude are the traits that come to mind when reflecting on Kenzie's time in the Pens Elite organization.

“She is one of the glue players who holds this year's team together.”

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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