Hockey December 14, 2017


Sibling rivalries were never an issue for Connor and Maggie MacEachern, but
they may have taken a few slashes to each other during mini-stick
competitions or one-on-one hockey games.

“We were always competitive with each other,” says Connor. “We always had
battles in the driveway and basement growing up. There were always a few
hacks to the legs, but we always found a way to get along.”

Growing up in Brooklin, Ont., the MacEachern siblings, who are two years
apart, were interested in sports, but it was hockey that inspired them the
most.

Connor started playing when he was five years old and it didn’t take long
for Maggie to jump into the game, as she always tried to emulate Connor
when they were growing up.

“I always wanted to be like him. I was at the rink growing up, whether it
was for figure skating or watching him play,” Maggie says. “He has been my
biggest role model, so playing hockey seemed like the next step to be like
him. Connor has been an influence on me and how far I’ve gotten with the
game.”

Their love for hockey brought them closer as they grew up and now it’s
paying off.

Connor, 18, is a forward with the Cobourg Cougars of the Ontario Junior
Hockey League. After a successful 2016-17 season with the Cougars,
including a home-ice win at the RBC Cup, Canada’s National Junior A
Championship, last spring, he earned a spot with Canada East for the 2017
World Junior A Challenge.

“To see him achieve something he has worked so hard for was amazing,” says
Maggie.

Maggie, a 16-year-old defenceman, was the first in the family to play
internationally, wearing the Maple Leaf with Canada’s National Women’s
Under-18 Team for a three-game series against the United States in August.

She won a national title of her own with Ontario Red at the 2017 National
Women’s Under-18 Championship in early November, and will depart for the
2018 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship in Russia shortly after Christmas.

“Watching her through that experience helped me as I now go through it,”
Connor says. “When I was named to Canada East, I relied on her and looked
up to her on how to represent my country and be a role model for my
teammates and community.”

Maggie credits Connor with some of her development on and off the ice, as
she looked to get stronger and faster.

“He motivated me to work on my shot, which I think is an asset of my game
now,” Maggie says. “We work out together in the summer and I am always
trying to be as fast and as strong as him.”

It’s that shot that makes Connor laugh when he talks about how much his
sister has accomplished.

“I taught her how to take a slap shot – she is better at it than me now,”
Connor says. “We feed off each other, so it is easy to share things with
Maggie. She is a phenomenal person and player. I love watching her play.”

Connor still lives at home and makes the hour-long commute to Cobourg,
which allows him time to watch Maggie’s games when he isn’t working. He
also picks her up from school most days and even takes her to practice.

“He is a great big brother. He always asks me about school and hockey and
if I need any help,” Maggie says. “He is a great student, so I am willing
to take feedback, whether it is hockey or school.”

The MacEachern house is a busy place these days and their parents try their
best to get to Maggie and Connor’s games and practices.

“They are running around a lot between both of us, but they love watching
us,” says Maggie. “My mom and I are watching Connor in Truro online because
I have to be here for school and games.”

The travel will become more hectic in 2019 as both will head south of the
border to continue their careers – Connor is committed to Robert Morris
University in Pittsburgh, Pa., while Maggie will enroll at Colgate
University in Hamilton, N.Y.

They will be in different states, but the bond they have now will still be
strong as they chase their dreams.

“We will be parting ways in the same year, which will be hard,” says
Maggie. “But, we will adapt and fully support each other as we go after our
goals.”

For now, though, Connor and Maggie are enjoying their time playing the game
that brought them closer.

“It is a dream come true,” Maggie says of playing for Team Canada. “It is
something we have both worked so hard for, so to see it come true, is an
amazing feeling,” Maggie says. “We are happy, but we are not complacent
with where we are at. We both want to do well for our country. We are so
proud to be representing Canada.”

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