Big Mac, a boxing journey from WHL to NHL and beyond.

In a long line of players who have donned the Prince Albert Raiders sweater, Steve MacIntyre has perhaps one of the best stories of getting to the NHL and hockey life after the show.

MacIntyre is a native of Brock, SK, whose WHL career began in 1997 with the Saskatoon Blades. During the 1999 WHL season, he found himself with the Prince Albert Raiders playing 47 games with a total penalty of exactly one hundred minutes. By this time, his skill with his hands was reaching legendary junior status not only for scoring goals, but for elevating his team as his marshal.

MacIntyre’s 6-foot 4 frame, with hands the size of a serving platter, made him an intimidating force to handle for any opponent. Currently, as I write this story, in my DVD collection of hockey’s past glories there is a bootleg disc that contains all of MacIntyre’s WHL fights. The hockey world no longer has the desire to fight as it once did. The “marshals” were an obligatory role in the team and in some ways still are. “Mac” proudly did this duty for his teammates and for his coaches. While this talent alone doesn’t get one selected in the NHL draft too often, it’s still something teams look for in the hockey “aftermarket”.

Logo of the MJHL League

With MJHL’s OCN Blizzard in 2000, Steve’s junior career in Canada came to a halt. Steve is still considered a cult player in The Pas, MB today with fans still wearing his jersey for Blizzard games. Meanwhile, in the United States, a new junior hockey league was on the horizon called the Continental Elite Hockey League. He stood alone in the hockey universe as an independent league that did not operate under US hockey regulations.

Originally recruited by Bay County Blizzard, MacIntyre led the championship in penalty minutes with 260. Coincidentally this was also the same year that he squashed his previous 14 points total with the OCN Blizzard to score 30 for Bay County. Blizzard. Unfortunately he found himself out of the championship for having accumulated too many suspensions, the final blow struck after crossing an opponent in the scrum. For the most part this would be the end of their junior career and the time to enter the “real” world.

Well, the real world would have to wait, as the United Hockey League’s Muskegon Fury came to call him and finished the year with them, winning the Colonial Cup in 2002. With a full year in the ECHL to follow with the Charlotte Checkers, the upper professional leagues were beginning to really take notice of his skills. The American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack called him between 2003 and 2004 where he more than demonstrated his skills and racked up more than two hundred penalty minutes without costing the team on the scoreboard.

July 3, 2008 was a day to remember for MacIntyre and his family.

Embed from Getty Images

The Florida Panthers hired him after watching him closely as he played in the New York Rangers farming system. He hasn’t been in the Panthers organization for too long since the Edmonton Oilers took over. His first NHL fight came against the Oilers’ archrival, the Calgary Flames. At the end of his punches was former junior teammate Jim Vandemeer, who himself is one of the toughest players to pull off in the NHL. Another first came on January 13 when MaIntyrec scored his first NHL goal against the Washington Capitals.

From riding the bus in juniors in Canada and the United States, going without drafting, playing hard in the junior pros with the thought of giving up to being in the best hockey league in the world.

This is a nice achievement with the ability to become a successful revealing book author if you ever wanted to do such a thing. Divided into five seasons in the NHL, Steve has dressed ninety-one times in total for Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

In 2014, Steve was outside the NHL looking back once again, this time with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies, playing what many thought would be his last professional games. For two seasons, hockey came and went without Steve MacIntyre.

Steve MacIntyre takes on all newcomers; Photo by James Jackson, Carolina Thunderbirds

Steve had retired from the game and resided in Kernersville, North Carolina, working as a firefighter, which is one of the bravest jobs a civilian can have, when the itch is back again. On January 19, 2018, a small pro hockey minor league had a huge announcement from one of their top teams, the Carolina Thunderbirds. The Federal Prospects Hockey League and the ‘Birds had gotten former NHL talent Steve MacIntyre.

Steve MacIntyre of the Carolina Thunderbirds. Photo by James Jackson, Carolina Thunderbirds

With the Thunderbirds club he has found a home to continue his professional hockey career at his own pace and close to his family while the birds play in Winston-Salem NC. Steve played 24 games scoring 13 points and a 120 minute penalty. Seen as a benchmark for some of the toughest players in the league, he gets the odd challenge on the ice and has still shown his punching skills to get fans out of their seats and his opponents to their knees. He’s listed for the club’s 2020-21 roster, so when Covid’s restrictions ease, you might get “ Big Mac ” on the ice playing the game he loves.

Via: www.dubnetwork.ca

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