By: Kelcee Kent (February, 6th 2018)
Green Bay Gamblers forward McKade Webster and his sister Makenna are spearheading a youth movement. The siblings are both the youngest players on their teams, but there on-ice performance shows that age is just a number.
Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri Mckade (17) stumbled upon the game of hockey after watching his older cousin play. Under the tutelage of former St. Louis Blues players Doug Weight, Bill Guerin and Paul Cavallini, McKade quickly developed a passion for the game
“They helped give me my passion towards hockey early on and helped me figured out what I wanted to do with that passion, and developed me into a (hockey) player,” said Webster.
Originally starting out as a figure skater, McKenna decided to transition into playing hockey. She proved to be a quick study and soon found herself having success.
With both ingrained into the St. Louis hockey community, Webster’s joined the prestigious Jr. Blues hockey program.
“We played for the Junior Blues growing up and sometimes, I would get the opportunity to help out at her practices. We were always skating together,” said Webster of the sibling’s early hockey career.
After playing on their respective teams within the Juniors Blues organization, both McKade and Makenna began prep school at Shattuck-Saint Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota.
Shattuck St. Mary’s alumni list includes the elite of the NHL including Sidney Crosby (Pittsburg Penguins), Johnathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks), Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild) and several other notable players.
Currently, Makenna is a sophomore at Shattuck playing on the Girls Prep hockey team and is already committed to the University of Wisconsin. Perhaps more impressively, she recently collected a gold medal with the USA U18 Women’s team at the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championships in Dmitrov, Russia.
Makenna led the team in scoring, collecting nine points throughout the tournament. In a preliminary round game against Sweden, Webster netted the game winner in overtime. For her efforts, Makenna was named a top three player for the U.S.
“She is the type of person who doesn’t get phased by the big moment at all. She was just 15 in a U18 tournament and was one of the youngest players there playing alongside high school seniors and college freshmen,” said McKade of his younger sister’s impressive World Championship tournament.
McKade who spent his previous year playing at Shattuck as well, began his rookie USHL season earlier this fall. Webster, who has picked up five goals and eight assists so far this season, is the youngest player on the Gamblers roster.
“It’s definitely an adjustment. It is a really tough, fast league for young players. After my first few games, I started to build up my confidence, take chances, and try to make plays. I’ve learned that you have to build on the games you play to improve and develop throughout the year,” said Webster. “It’s a serious league, and I feel like I understand that and take that commitment seriously.”
Although young and just getting his first taste of the USHL, Webster has had nothing short of on-ice success which he attributes to several factors.
“Having great teammates helps a lot. But finding my confidence this season was key. I know that my first games were not my best, but after putting in a lot of hard work I started seeing a lot of mid-season success,” said Webster.
Webster is committed to Yale University in New Haven Connecticut. The Ivy League university is home to the oldest collegiate hockey team in the United States and encompasses both an impeccable athletic and academic reputation.
“When choosing to commit to Yale, I took into consideration both athletics and academics. If it ever comes down to it, I think it is important to keep in mind a future after hockey, and Yale allows both,” said Webster.
Athletically, the Bulldogs won the 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Tournament.
“I really like the recruiting class I have with me. A bunch of young commits that they have are a lot of my buddies, so I really like the program that I’m headed towards,” said Webster.
Academically, Webster is looking toward pursuing a degree in law. Both of Webster’s parents are lawyers, and he has plans to follow in their footsteps.
Both McKade and McKenna are exceptional talents on the ice. Both also share a passion for the game. And despite being apart, it’s that passion that bonds them together.
“Hockey has always been our mutual interest, so we’ve always shared that same passion. We are on similar roads, towards Division I schools, and that’s kept us really close and motivated, “ says Webster.