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Rising Talent from Young Royals Recently Inked to Contracts

From the Reading Royals

Rising Talent from Young Royals Recently Inked to Contracts

In March, Reading signed two young players who are getting their first minutes at the professional level and are certainly making the most of it. On Mar. 14, defenseman Will MacKinnon was signed to a Standard Player Contract (SPC) by the Royals. MacKinnon is 21 years of age and a native of Plymouth, MI. MacKinnon signed his first professional hockey contract with Reading out of the University of New Hampshire where he totaled 24 points (5 G’s/14 A’s) in 119 games from 2018-22 in the NCAA.

Royals’ defenseman Will MacKinnon

“We are excited to have him,” exclaimed Head Coach Kirk MacDonald. “(MacKinnon’s) been great and you can see him start to become more aggressive with his gap control off the rush. He’s killing plays in the defensive zone and takes away time and space really quick. There’s some offensive instincts there that I think he’s not been allowed to (use) in school. He’s understanding some of the stuff to have success and only going to get better,” said MacDonald.

On Mar. 19, MacDonald recruited a young forward out of his Alma Mater of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Shane Sellar, 24, signed a Standard Player Contract (SPC) after playing for two seasons under Head Coach David Smith at RPI for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. Sellar is a Carlisle, PA native who spent his first two seasons of collegiate hockey at Dartmouth College where he played with former Royals’ forward, Cam Strong. Sellar totaled 52 points (23 G’s/29 A’s) in 133 games at Dartmouth College & RPI in the NCAA.

Royals/ forward Shane Sellar
Royals’ forward Shane Sellar

“I think (Sellar) exceeded expectations,” stated MacDonald. “He plays great on the wall and manages the game very well. He carries the puck when he needs to, takes the ice that he has and is smart when possessing (the puck in the offensive zone). He moves well, competes and has a high hockey IQ. We like what we saw and hopefully we see more of that,” concluded MacDonald.

MacKinnon has skated in four games for Reading, while Sellar has skated in two games since being signed. The rookies each earned their first 1 +/- in Reading’s win over the Worcester Railers on Mar. 23, 2022.

The young bucks are among four players who have been signed out of college to Reading’s roster. Goaltender, Mike Robinson signed a Standard Player Contract (SPC) on Mar. 22 out of the University of New Hampshire. Robinson, 24, is a Bedford, NH native who hoisted a .901 save percentage and 37-53-15 record in 112 games in the NCAA. Robinson was selected #86 overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by San Jose and has yet to see game action for Reading.

Most recently, Tyler Kirkup, a forward out of Bemidji State University, signed an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) on Mar. 24. Kirkup, 23, is a Viden, Manitoba, Canada native beginning his first professional season with Reading after totaling 48 points (21 G’s/27 A’s) in 131 games in the NCAA. In the MJHL, Kirkup scored 40 goals in a single season plus one goal and three assists in the playoffs with the Virden Oil Capitals in 2017-18.

“(MacDonald) is a tireless worker,” stated David Farrar, General Manager of the Royals. “Kirk has done an excellent job bringing in talent and developing guys who can play at the next level. He is always recruiting and looking to make the team better, which has shown in the players he’s brought in who can potentially be the next young player to make the jump to the AHL then NHL,” Farrar added.

MacDonald and the Royals seek to use these young talents in the build up to the Kelly Cup playoffs following the final regular season game at home on April 16th. Reading sits atop the Eastern conference and heads into a slate of three games in three days beginning on Friday, Mar. 25 with their magic number to clinch a playoff position at five.