Derek MacKenzie is moving from one chapter of his hockey career to the next.
After shoulder surgery prematurely ended his 2018-19 season (and ultimately, his playing career), the wily veteran has retired and is starting a new life in the coaching fraternity. The Florida Panthers announced Tuesday morning that MacKenzie, a popular former Blue Jacket, will be an assistant coach under new head coach Joel Quenneville beginning this fall.
MacKenzie joins Mike Kitchen – a longtime associate of Quenneville's – and former NHLer Andrew Brunette on the Panthers' just-announced coaching staff.
From the Panthers' team release:
MacKenzie, 37, completed his final NHL season in 2018-19 with the Panthers after a season-ending shoulder injury. Throughout 2018-19, while recovering from injury, MacKenzie assisted the Panthers coaching staff in an unofficial assistant coaching role.
The native of Sudbury, Ontario played five seasons for the Panthers (2014-15 to 2018-19) serving as captain for two seasons (2016-17 to 2017-18). MacKenzie played 304 games with Florida, producing 54 points (20-34-54).
MacKenzie finishes a 611-game NHL career that included stops with the Atlanta Thrashers (2001-02 to 2006-07), Blue Jackets (2007-08 to 2013-14) and Panthers (2014-15 to 2018-19). He scored 51 goals and totaled 125 points, and originally, was a fifth-round pick of the Thrashers in 1999.