Curtis McKenzie’s fiancée had planned a trip to Arizona with the Stars forward in late January. After McKenzie was named to the AHL All-Star team, their romantic getaway will have to be in Utica, N.Y.
The Texas captain was named to the All-Star team on Thursday and will participate in the skills competition and All-Star Classic on Jan. 28 and 29 in upstate New York. He leads the team with 17 goals this year and is second in points with 28.
“It’s pretty nice,” McKenzie said. “It’s a huge honor to be named an All-Star in this league. There are a lot of payers on our team that could be going there. I was fortunate that they chose me.”
His 17 goals are tied for seventh in the league and 28 points are tied for 17th as of Friday afternoon. He is tied for third in the AHL with eight power-play goals and has two hat tricks this season. This is his first career AHL All-Star selection.
A sixth-round pick of the Stars in 2009, McKenzie was named AHL the Rookie of the Year in 2013-14 when he scored 27 goals and had 65 assists. He has 10 goals and 12 assists in 96 career NHL appearances, including one assist in four games in Dallas this season.
McKenzie has made a habit of sticking around the net this season, jumping on rebounds and putting home wraparound shots. But the AHL skills competition consists of speed and accuracy challenges.
When head coach Derek Laxdal told the team that McKenzie would represent them in New York, the biggest thing they joked with him about which competition would best suit the cherrypicking forward.
“There’s nothing around the net for a skills competition, but I’m sure wherever they put me will be a lot of fun,” he said. “We have a good locker room and there is a lot of razz from the boys all around. It’s a lot of fun.”