by Tim Morris
Ottawa Junior Senators defenseman Tucker McIntosh is going to miss the team’s next few games right before the halfway break. He has a pretty good reason. McIntosh will be playing for Team Canada East at the World Junior A Championships in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
“It was always a dream of mine and every kid to put on a Team Canada uniform,” McIntosh remarked. “It’s incredible. It’s the most excited I’ve been in hockey along with joining the Junior Senators. It’s going to be pretty special”.
McIntosh is the lone Junior Senator headed to the World Championships. The team is being coached by Ottawa’s Head Coach and GM Martin Dagenais.
“I’m super grateful to Marty, it’s says a lot about him and the confidence he has in me,” said McIntosh.
McIntosh’s inclusion on Team Canada East also says a lot about his development with the Junior Senators in his first Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) season.
Last year at this time, McIntosh was playing for the Upper Canada College Hockey Club in the Independent Schools Athletic Association and the Toronto Patriots in the Ottawa Junior Hockey League. He caught the attention of Dagenais and his staff during this time and signed on with the Junior Sens for the 2019-20 season.
“It’s been great, I could not be happier,” said McIntosh, who grew up just outside Toronto of playing for Ottawa. “Marty and his staff have helped elevate my game defensively.”
McIntosh had played forward for all of his career until his last season in prep hockey. The biggest adjustment he had to make was decision making, when to stay in the defensive zone and when to be aggressive and push the puck forward. At first he had to overcome hesitancy.
“I had to learn read plays better, read guys better,” McIntosh pointed out. “The Junior Senators are strong believers in defense. They are helping me read plays, know when to pinch a guy (on the boards), when to switch and communicate. I’m going to keep working at it.”
McIntosh has been a fast learner and has become a mainstay on the backline. He knows when to stay back and when to push up ice.
“I have to pick and choose my moments,” McIntosh explained. “When the puck is on my stick I’m at my best. I can make the pass and get the shot off.”
McIntosh is becoming more comfortable using his scoring skills.
“I feel my offensive game has always been there,” he noted.
McIntosh has scored 18 points for the Junior Senators on three goals and 15 assists.
The Ottawa defender admitted that going from prep to the CCHL was a major transition.
“It was a big jump from Prep hockey in Ontario,” McIntosh explained. “It required quicker decision making and it’s more physical.”
Clearly, the 5-11, 152-pound McIntosh has the IQ, speed and is matured enough physically to make that jump.
McIntosh played a number sports growing up; lacrosse, football and, even golf.
“It was team sports that I loved,” he said. “I loved the team bonding and leadership and everyone having a collective goal.”
When McIntosh returns from his two weeks in British Columbia, the Junior Senators will start making their push to repeat as Fred Page Cup and Bogart Cup champions.
“That’s our goal,” he reported.