Episode S1E25. The Kenny McKie Interview.
Kenny first “discovered” ice skating as a 10 year old, he’d persuaded his 16 year old brother to take him to the Crossmyloof ice rink, his brother had arranged to meet a girl there and 10 year old Kenny threatened to “tell his mum”.
Once there he was hooked, took to the ice right right away and became a very good skater.
“The rink was a dump, but it was our dump, plus at 237 feet x 107 feet the ice was so big you had to be able to skate, that helped a lot of us progress to become really good skaters.”
At 11 years old Kenny joined the Glasgow Vikings junior ice hockey team. Apparently the only reason they were named as such was that the team strip they had acquired had “Vikings” on it.
He also tells us of how, during one festival period, the team had to skate around a Christmas tree, positioned at centre ice, as the winch for raising it up and out of the way had broken. There were pine needles everywhere remembered Kenny with a laugh!
Progressing through the Glasgow ranks, playing for the first team Dynamos and then the Great Britain U18 team, Kenny, now an apprentice joiner by trade, decided that a move away from Glasgow might be just the sort of lift he needed.
A conversation with then Nottingham Panthers supremo, Gary Keward, gave him the opportunity to do just that, and so he moved south to join the East Midlands club – the year was 1982. He fondly recalls his time there:
My first Panthers game was at Billingham, when we arrived back at the Ice Stadium at 1.00 am fans were already queuing up for tickets, it was unbelievable, back in Glasgow we had to throw people in to try to get a crowd!
That evening I skated out to 2500 screaming fans, it was incredible, we won 12 – 1 and I scored the last goal.
Kenny also tells of how Panthers forward Dwayne Keward introduced him to his pre game meal, a “Big Mac Meal”, I’d never had one before, Kenny explains, as at that time, there were no McDonalds in Glasgow – can you imagine that now!
Moving on and Kenny talks of how and why he left the Panthers and of how, and after considering possible moves to Solihull and Streatham, a summer coaching job at a hockey school in Peterborough convinced him that his next stop should be the Pirates. A really good choice as Kenny stayed with the East of England club for the next 11 seasons.
We share Kenny’s most memorable experiences playing for the Pirates and talk of coaches Ron Katernuk, Gary Unger and Rocky Saganiuk plus players Doug McEwan, Trent Kaese, Todd Bidner and Danny Shea, all great characters in their own right.
Kenny eventually returned to Glasgow and after a season with the Paisley Pirates hung up his skates for the last time, I asked the question “how did you feel when it was all over?”
What they don’t tell you when you hang your blades up is how gut wrenching and awful it is to go watch a game.
We conclude an enjoyable interview when Kenny shares the one thing that he still really misses about the game. To find out what that is, you’ll just have to listen to the show!
Kenny and his family are regular visitors to the Braehead Arena and are self confessed “Clan fans”.
Shout out time
In this episode I give shout outs to:
The Nottingham Panthers
and the following Podcasts
- The Cats Whiskers – Nottingham Panthers
- A View from a Bridge – Belfast Giants
- The Purple Army Podcast – Braehead Clan
- The Red Army Roundup – Cardiff Devils
- The Forecast – Manchester Storm
- Centre Ice Podcast
Lastly, I reveal my guest for the next Podcast, episode 26.
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