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GRIT & GRIND: K-WINGS ROOKIE McCARTY HUSTLES INTO THE PROS

Friday, December 2nd
GRIT & GRIND: K-WINGS ROOKIE McCARTY HUSTLES INTO THE PROS

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December 2, 2022

GRIT & GRIND: K-WINGS ROOKIE McCARTY HUSTLES INTO THE PROS

Mason McCarty’s determination and work ethic craft the K-Wings current scoring leader.

By Collin Murphy for K-Wings.com

KALAMAZOO, MI – When you think of a hockey game, your mind may go to a glittering NHL arena, a local hockey barn in your hometown, or Wings Event Center here in Kalamazoo. But at its core, hockey is an outdoor game.

In the McCarty family, hockey was played whenever and wherever the opportunity presented itself in Blackie, Alberta. It could be said it was attached to his home’s foundation.

“Lots of road hockey in the driveway,” K-Wings rookie Mason McCarty said. “Me and my brothers would go at it and I was always the smallest. It just about ended up every time in a fight.”

Growing up playing hockey at home with his two older brothers, Mason got used to playing above his age group and still was one of the best players on the ice or pavement for that matter.

“Mason was, I believe, 11 or 12 and he was dancing around people and putting the puck between their legs and just making people a number of years older than him look silly,” Dallon McCarty said of his younger brother.

That trend continued into his years playing hockey at the junior level. Mason, at this point, developed tremendous goal-scoring ability. He showed his full potential with a 74-point season in 69 games with the Red Deer Rebels as the team’s alternate captain in the WHL in 2017-18.

K-Wings head coach Joel Martin is not surprised at all by McCarty’s offensive production thus far given the style of play he was recruited for that’s now on full display.

“He’s tenacious on pucks,” Martin said. “He hounds pucks off lost draws in the O-Zone, and he hounds pucks on the forecheck. Mason is always going to the net front, and he goes to the areas where you need to be to score goals.”

McCarty got a taste of the ECHL in 2018-19, a year after his 74-point WHL outburst, suiting up for Rapid City where he notched six goals in just 15 games with the Rush. He then elected to take his college package and played two seasons with Acadia University, tying in the Covid year in between before landing in Kalamazoo. 

“Honestly, I didn’t know if I was going to play professionally after the Covid year,” McCarty said. “The pandemic really put a lot of things outside of hockey into perspective like family. But when I knew in my heart it was time to make a push back towards the pros, I woke up every morning at 5 a.m. and worked construction to get my body ready.

And that translated into another successful year at Acadia, which landed him on Martin’s radar and in Kalamazoo.

Yet, Kalamazoo doesn’t just recruit on work ethic alone, it’s also about the makeup of an individual that garners a contract offer.

“He’s just such a driven and hardworking person, and I can really see that in his character,” Dallon said of his younger brother.

McCarty simply credits his father as the reason for his character and drive.

“Everything I do, I try to do to the best of my ability, that’s the way you want to do things,” McCarty said. “I know I got that from my dad.”

That work ethic has translated into team-leading scoring production for McCarty thus far. He currently leads the K-Wings in points (13), goals (6), assists (7) and is tied for No. 15 among ECHL rookies in points. McCarty also just came off a career-long five-game point streak from Nov. 20 thru Nov. 27 (2G, 3A).

McCarty just credits the K-Wings locker room for his success thus far, and is working hard each day to become a better two-way forward.

“Having the locker room we have helps so much,” McCarty said. “They make things easier, because everyone’s just as invested in you as they are themselves. With the culture we have, it makes it easy to come in and just be me. We all have the same goal and are striving for the same thing. A championship.”

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The Kalamazoo Wings are a professional hockey team located in southwest Michigan that has been a staple in the Kalamazoo, MI professional sports landscape since 1974. The K-Wings compete in the ECHL and are the AA affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets and the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters. Kalamazoo plays their 36 regular season home games at Wings Event Center from October through April.

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