New job for Mike McKenzie

March 31, 2017

Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League have opted to promote highly-regarded Mike McKenzie to general manager effective immediately.

McKenzie moves up to the GM chair from his previous role as assistant coach/assistant general manager.

Outgoing Rangers GM Murray Hiebert has a new title — director of hockey operations.

McKenzie has been with the Rangers since 2012 when he was hired as an assistant coach.

As the new GM in Kitchener, the fresh-faced McKenzie — he turns 31-years old later this month — will be responsible for all elements of Rangers scouting, including the upcoming April 8 under 16-draft and the April 12 under-18 draft.

Under a new four-year contract, McKenzie will also oversee areas of player management, trades and hockey department staffing.

Meanwhile, Hiebert will now focus on the implementation and execution of player education plans, as well as serve as a liaison between the Rangers and the OHL.

At a press conference held earlier today, Rangers chief operating officer Steve Bienkowski detailed the front-office changes, beginning with Hiebert.

“In the fall of 2016 Murray informed me that it was his intention to retire following this season, as he thought it was time to take a step back from the workload required as a general manager in our league. Over the next number of months, various discussions led to him agreeing to postpone his retirement for another season and in the meantime adopting this new role,” said Bienkowski.

Bienkowski had a multitude of good words to say about his new GM, who is the eldest son of reputable TSN hockey insider Bob (Hawk) McKenzie.

“When Mike was first brought into the fold here in Kitchener it quickly became apparent, based on his work ethic and knowledge of the game, that this was someone who would continue to climb the ranks of a hockey operations staff in the OHL. His move from the coaching ranks to the management team as assistant general manager was another step in this progression.

“Over the last few months, Mike continued to demonstrate he is capable and deserving of even more responsibility as he oversaw the preparation for the upcoming OHL draft and dealings at the trade deadline.

“It was during this time, with input and encouragement from Murray, the process began and wheels were set in motion to have Mike take over as general manager,” said Bienkowski.

As the Rangers have made the change at the top of the hockey department, they are facing elimination in their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series with Owen Sound Attack.

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