GLENDALE - Coyotes prospect Mackenzie Entwistle is planning to serve as an instructor for young hockey players in his hometown of Georgetown, Ontario, later this month.
Entwistle, a forward whom Arizona picked 69th overall at this year's NHL Draft, will coach players ages 7-10 at the annual Pasma's Hockey Development Camp.
"Growing up I went to a lot of camps for little kids and that's where I grew to love hockey and that's where I got to play more," Entwistle said. "Now that I'm at this level and now that people are starting to get to know who I am around town, I think it's important to give back to the community. Those camps helped me get to where I am now so I'm happy to do it. It's fun watching kids play the game they love."
The Coyotes drew rave reviews for drafting Entwistle when they did, early in the third round. For example, Mark Seidel, the chief scout for North American Central Scouting, called the pick "a steal."
Entwistle, 6-foot-2, 171 pounds, notched 18 goals and 21 assists in his first two seasons with Hamilton of the Ontario Hockey League. He's regarded as a coach's dream with great work ethic and a willingness to do whatever it takes to help his team win. Last season, he was voted the second-best penalty killer in the OHL's Eastern Conference.
Logic suggests Entwistle slipped to 69th in the draft because he missed a big chunk of last season due to mononucleosis, which sidelined him for the month of February and parts of March. He played just nine regular-season games and seven playoff games after returning to Hamilton's lineup.
"Having mono, that's something that's contagious and they didn't want me around the rink, so I was isolated from the team," Entwistle said. "That was the worst part about that experience; not being able to be at the rink and not being able to see the guys or skate or work out. It was hard. It was definitely a learning experience."
Entwistle also learned a great deal after the draft when he attended Arizona's Prospect Development Camp.
"That was a cool experience," Entwistle said. "I really didn't know what to expect so I went into it with an open mind. The best part for me was learning from the guys who have already played in the NHL, like Dylan Strome and Clayton Keller and Christian Fischer, and just seeing how they've gotten there and how they prepare. I found that very interesting."
When he's not coaching young hockey players, Entwistle plans to train hard this summer. He said he'll skate four to five times per week, and train off the ice, too.
"I've been focusing a lot on my skating and my skill work, and obviously I'm spending time in the gym trying to get bigger and stronger," Entwistle said.
Entwistle skipped his high school prom on June 23 so he could attend the first round of the NHL Draft in Chicago with 20 family members and friends, just in case he was selected that night. He wore a slick, cobalt blue suit he purchased for the occasion, which he wore both days. He wasn't drafted that first night, but he doesn't regret his decision to attend. Being there for the first round enhanced the overall experience, he said.
"It was a nerve-racking night, but also a lot of fun at the same time," Entwistle said. "As a hockey player, you only get to experience that once in your life and it's definitely something that I will never forget."
Arizona is hoping Entwistle follows forward Christian Dvorak's path to the NHL. Like Entwistle, Dvorak slipped in the NHL Draft (in 2014) because of a serious injury during his draft season. The Coyotes snatched him 58th overall and Dvorak has proven other teams erred by passing on him.
"Mackenzie is a hard-working kid and he's always going to give you an honest effort," said Tim Bernhardt, Arizona's Director of Amateur Scouting. "We think there's some more offense than what he's shown so far, and we think it will come. He could end up being a middle-six forward with real good size."
Video: 07/07/17: Mackenzie Entwistle chats with Jill Galus