Former Minnesota Duluth captain and two-time national champion Parker Mackay has entered the coaching ranks.

Mackay, who captained the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2018 and 2019, was named assistant coach of the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League on Wednesday. He’ll be working under fourth-year head coach and assistant general manager Bram Stephen.

A 26-year-old native of Irma, Alberta, Mackay played three seasons for Spruce Grove from 2012-15 before joining the Bulldogs. He helped the Saints win two AJHL championships in 2014 and 2015. As captain during the 2014-15 season, Mackay was named the AJHL’s Most Dedicated Player and the postseason MVP.

“Parker brings a wealth of knowledge of what it takes to be successful at the junior and college hockey levels,” Stephen said in the announcement. “His knowledge of leadership on championship teams is incredibly rare and a special skill set that will make him a very good coach at our level. Moreover, his maturity, professionalism and intelligence for the game will make an immediate impact in our organization and we are very excited to have him join our coaching staff.”

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Mackay played four seasons for the Bulldogs from 2015-19, serving as an assistant captain alongside captain Karson Kuhlman as a junior in 2017-18 and as captain in 2018-19 when UMD captured back-to-back NCAA titles. He appeared in three straight Frozen Fours and national championship games with UMD from 2017-2019 and also helped the Bulldogs win NCHC Frozen Faceoff titles in 2017 and 2019.

As a senior, Mackay led the Bulldogs in scoring with a team-high 16 goals and 33 points. He put up four goals and two assists at the 2019 NCAA Midwest Regional and Frozen Four to be named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

Mackay’s professional career lasted only two seasons. He spent 2019-20 with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League and 2020-21 in Graz, Austria with the Graz 99ers of Austria’s top tier league, the ICE Hockey League. He retired in December due to health issues and returned to Alberta.

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Minnesota Duluth's Parker Mackay celebrates with the NCAA championship trophy after the Bulldogs defeated Massachusetts 3-0 in 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. (Clint Austin / File / caustin@duluthnews.com)
Minnesota Duluth's Parker Mackay celebrates with the NCAA championship trophy after the Bulldogs defeated Massachusetts 3-0 in 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. (Clint Austin / File / caustin@duluthnews.com)