TORONTO, Ontario — A former member of the Ravens men’s hockey staff has been called up to the big leagues.
Chris McKeage spent his student years at Carleton cutting his teeth as an equipment manager for the Ravens and has worked his way up to the National Hockey League after being recently hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
McKeage is a Carleton alumnus after graduating in 2013 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree, focusing on sports psychology.
“I’ve always loved being around the rink and the game of hockey,” says McKeage. “I really enjoy all the little intricacies and logistics around how a team functions and the preparation it takes to make the game happen.”
McKeage started volunteering for the Ottawa 67’s as a teenager, which he quickly turned into a part-time job. He stayed in the hockey world at Carleton by getting involved with the Ravens varsity men’s team.
“After being accepted to Carleton as a student, a good friend of mine, Richard Bue, who is currently working for the Manitoba Moose in the AHL, convinced me to come and work with the Ravens men’s hockey team. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
After graduation, McKeage quickly began moving up the hockey league ranks, working for the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenac’s for a season before moving on to the American Hockey League. He spent five years as the Head Equipment Manager for the Toronto Marlies, winners of the 2018 Calder Cup championship.
Throughout his hockey travels, McKeage says meeting amazing people has been a major highlight. “Whether its interacting with the players, coaches, management or different medical departments, all of my colleagues have been incredible, hard-working people,” he says. “Regardless of the team, working alongside individuals who share your passion for the game motivates me every day.”
McKeage says that working in the highest professional hockey league in the world is proving to be an exciting and demanding challenge.
“In terms of the work, the general structure of the role remains relatively constant, but the expectations at the pro ranks, especially in the NHL, requires a higher level of execution in every sense of the word. Whether it be planning, strategy, logistics or our personal approach to the job, the expectation in the NHL is at the highest-level day in and day out.”
Through it all, his time working with the Ravens teams during his studies has filled him with memories he still carries with him.
“One of the fondest memories was when our men’s hockey team advanced to nationals, hosted in Saskatoon. When I started working for the team, it was shortly after the re-establishment of the varsity program at Carleton. Watching such a young team and its core group of players develop over three years and ultimately compete at the national stage was very fun to be a part of.”