ST. LOUIS - After scoring two goals and helping the San Antonio Rampage to a franchise-record eighth consecutive win at home on Wednesday night, Mackenzie MacEachern was rewarded with a call-up to the St. Louis Blues, where he will make his NHL debut Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.
"I'm excited. Obviously you dream about it as a kid playing in the NHL," MacEachern said after Thursday's morning skate at Enterprise Center. "I found a way to get here, now I'm going to try to find a way to stick. That's the goal."
MacEachern was drafted by the Blues in the third round (No. 67 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft. He played three years of college hockey at Michigan State University before he turned pro. Now, in his third season in the American Hockey League (two with the Chicago Wolves and one with San Antonio), MacEachern is ready for his big chance.
"He's had some injuries and things like that over the last few years here and there, but he's paid his dues," Blues Head Coach Craig Berube said of MacEachern. "I think it's time to take a look at him."
MacEachern was told he'd be joining the Blues on Wednesday night, shortly after San Antonio's win against the Iowa Wild. He boarded a plane bound for St. Louis at 5:30 a.m. Thursday and landed in St. Louis around 7:40 a.m.
It's been a long day, but that won't slow MacEachern down.
"There wasn't much sleep," he told reporters after Thursday's morning skate. "I was pretty excited, and obviously I'm trying to make the most out of it… It's been a long road, three years to get (my first NHL game) and with the injuries I've battled, it's tested my mental will but that's how you get strong as a person, overcoming adversity. It's made me stronger as a person and as a player."
MacEachern's parents - Ron and Pam - are flying in from Michigan for the game and bringing other members of the immediately family, too.
"I can't control (how long I've waited to be called up), I can only control myself," MacEachern said. "I went down (to San Antonio) with a positive attitude and I think I had a good camp... I was fortunate to get the call and here I am today."