Former Bulldogs captain, two-time NCAA champion Parker Mackay retires from hockey

The Most Outstanding Player from the 2019 NCAA tournament is stepping away due to health reasons, had been playing in Europe.

Minnesota Duluth's Parker Mackay celebrates with the national trophy after the Bulldogs defeated Massachusetts 3-0 in the 2019 NCAA Championship at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. (Clint Austin /

Former Minnesota Duluth captain Parker Mackay has retired from hockey due to “personal health issues,” the two-time NCAA champion tweeted on Tuesday.

Mackay was playing in Graz, Austria with the Graz 99ers of Austria’s top tier league, the ICE Hockey League. He had three goals and 11 assists in 19 games.

The native of Irma, Alberta, 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, winning NCAA titles both years. He helped lead the Bulldogs to a pair of NCHC Frozen Faceoff titles in 2017 and 2019 and the three consecutive NCAA national championship game appearances from 2017-19 in Chicago, St. Paul and Buffalo, New York.

Mackay led the Bulldogs in scoring as a senior with a team-high 16 goals and 33 points. He put up four goals and two assists at the NCAA Midwest Regional and Frozen Four to be named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. He then signed a one-year American Hockey League deal with the Texas Stars before heading to Europe for 2020-21.


Mackay was a guest on the News Tribune’s Bulldog Insider Podcast earlier this month to share his experience playing in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Graz 99ers season was shutdown temporarily this fall due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the organization, and Mackay was one of the players to contract the coronavirus.

He has since recovered and was able to return to the ice with his team once they were cleared to play again. Mackay told the News Tribune on Tuesday the health issues that have forced him to retire were not related to the coronavirus.

“I’m feeling pretty much back to normal,” Mackay said on the podcast earlier this month. “I know some guys are still struggling a little bit with the breathing and stuff like that. But overall, I feel pretty good.”

Without going into detail, Mackay said on the podcast he chose to go play in Europe over remaining in North American because the style of hockey there better suited him after the injuries he suffered during career.

Mackay said he was hoping to return to Europe to play at least one more year, “if not two” so he could get the real experience of playing in Europe, instead of the pandemic version. After that, Mackay said he'd like to get into coaching.


“Hockey is definitely where I want to end up,” Mackay said.


Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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