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CBA/J-D takes emotional, unlikely path to brink of state title

Passing of coach's father serves as motivation for combined squad

The past month has been one of charting new icy waters for the CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt hockey team, who heads to Utica Memorial Auditorium this Saturday to take on Beekmantown in its first-ever state semifinal following the school’s first Section III title in 32 years.

CBA/J-D’s unlikely run to the brink of a state championship featured, in the Section III playoffs, tense one-goal wins over Auburn (3-2), Skaneateles (4-3 in triple overtime) and Osweg, with the Brothers getting three goals in the game’s final three minutes for the come-from-behind 4-3 championship victory Feb. 23 at Utica Memorial Auditorium.

But the biggest adversity facing the Brothers in its magical postseason run came away from the ice.

David McKie, father of CBA/J-D head coach Mike McKie, passed away at age 84 on February 12 - three days before the first round of the playoffs - after a 15-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The elder McKie, originally from Ayrshire, Scotland, founded McKie Sports, the only ice hockey equipment and service provider in Syracuse, in 1981.

What started out as a small service pro shop at the N.Y. State Fairgrounds is now a “one stop hockey shop” that includes custom embroidered sportswear and has expanded into a 14,000 sq. ft. building and an e-business to fulfill out-of-town demand.

The family business meant that Mike was able to start playing hockey at 5 years old, and he eventually won the state championship with Liverpool High School in 1985. David McKie’s presence was significant to the hockey community of Central New York.

“A lot of people knew all of us,” McKie said, referring to he and his four siblings. “We had a lot of support through the business and a lot of friends.

McKie takes solace in the fact that his father’s death was not a sudden tragedy.

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