Story by Robert LaPlante
The recent struggles of the St. Cloud State University women’s hockey team doesn’t seem to bother St. Michael-Albertville senior Mackenzie Bourgerie.
In fact, the word “struggle” and the name “Bourgerie” is rarely used in the same sentence.
While Bourgerie never made that elusive state tournament during her four-year career playing high school hockey for the North Wright County Riverhawks, the future Husky made a lifetime of memories in high school.
One of those memories was fulfilled this past year, where she was recently named a top-10 Ms. Hockey semifinalist, which will be announced Sunday, Feb. 23 at the RiverCentre in St. Paul.
“Ever since I started watching high school hockey, this award has always been a dream of mine,” said Bourgerie, who will be joined in St. Paul by teammate Anna LaRose, who was also a semifinalist for the Senior Goalie of the Year Award. “Being up for this honor is truly a feeling I can’t describe. Being able to represent my team, alongside Anna is amazing. I’ve grown up playing with her and there’s no one that deserves this more than her.”
It’s that team-first attitude that has made Bourgerie a leader on and off the ice. On the ice, she posted 22 goals, 23 assists and 45 points in 27 games this past season. The Riverhawks went 17-9-1, before losing 3-2 in the Section 7AA semifinals to section runner-up Forest Lake.
Bourgerie set career highs her junior season, where she finished among the top-five in the state with 71 points (31 goals, 40 assists). Her numbers took a bit of a hit her senior year due to the team’s move to the ultra-competitive Lake Conference, which features state powers Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, and Wayzata.
Over her four-year career, Bourgerie amassed 94 goals, 96 assists and 190 points. She ranks first all-time on the Riverhawk career scoring list and assists, and ranks third in goals.
“Mackenzie has been a phenomenal player in our program. As you can see, she has about the same in overall goals and assists, which plays directly to her as a player,” said North Wright County Head Coach Cailyn McCauley. “She is a selfless player, and that is what makes her great. She was always giving one-hundred percent in every practice and every game. She went out on the ice to not only make herself better, but her teammates around her better as well.”
Bourgerie credits a few things for her success on ice.
“I believe one of my strengths is my hockey IQ,” she said. “I see the ice well, and anticipate plays. I also believe I play a full 200 feet, which is huge in high school and college hockey.”
Bourgerie draws her inspiration from former Wisconsin Badger and 2018 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Hillary Knight.
“She is someone I’ve always looked up to. She gives 110-percent, no matter what she’s doing, and never gives up if something doesn’t go her way,” Bourgerie said. “This summer, I was at a High Performance camp, and she told us her story about being cut from the team when she was younger, and she trained all the time and made her way up to not only represent USA, but also be one of the top goal scorers as well.”
Off the ice, Bourgerie is your typical teenager, who enjoys hanging with her teammates.
“I’m really going to miss the bus rides to away games, especially the faraway ones to Roseau, when we would make raps about our team,” Bourgerie said. “These bus rides made our team get closer, and ultimately made us play better together on the ice. I’m also going to miss the pre-game jams in the locker room. We would just scream our lungs out and not have a care in the world.”
Bourgerie is also a huge fan of the game. As a St. Cloud State recruit, she’s looking forward to continuing some personal rivalries at the collegiate level.
“I’m looking forward to playing against Sydney Langseth (Eden Prairie) and Jamie Nelson (Andover) at Minnesota State-Mankato, Tella Jungels (Edina) at the University of Minnesota, and eventually Chloe Finnerty.”
Finnerty completed her sophomore season as teammates with Bourgerie at North Wright County. It’s Bourgerie’s leadership skills that have rubbed off on younger teammates like Finnerty, who is committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
“One of the biggest things we will miss from our program is Kenzie’s leadership, and I know she will take this with her to SCSU,” McCauley said. “Our team had a great dynamic, and this is due to the leadership from Bourgerie and the other seniors. She didn’t just lead by actions, but lead by words as well. SCSU is not only getting a great player, but a great person.”
Despite SCSU’s struggles this season, Bourgerie is excited to join a program that is in a transition year. Through 23 league games, SCSU sits in last place in the WCHA (2-19-1). Their overall record is 6-21-4. The Huskies are led by first-year Head Coach Steve Macdonald.
“I chose St. Cloud for a few reasons. First, the atmosphere in the locker room and on the ice is amazing. The team always has fun together and lifts each other up, which is something I find very important within a team,” Bourgerie said.
“Second, I wanted to stay close to home so my family can come support me. Lastly, the coaches played a huge part in my decision. They are super easy to talk to and very understanding. They look out for their players and hope for the best for all of them.
“Playing Division-I hockey has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember,” Bourgerie added. “Being able to play with and against some of the best players in the world is unspeakable. I’m so excited to be joining the Huskies next year, and wouldn’t want to be a part of any other team.”
Rob LaPlante is a contributing writer for CenterIceView and Huskies Illustrated. Follow Rob on Twitter at @laplante71