NHL veteran McKee joins Niagara staff

Longtime National Hockey League defenseman Jay McKee has joined the Niagara men’s hockey coaching staff as a volunteer assistant coach.

McKee hasn’t retired and is still pursuing an NHL contract.

Niagara coach Dave Burkholder coached McKee during his stint with the OHL’s Niagara Falls Thunder back in the mid-1990s.

“I’m excited about Jay helping us for as long as he can,” Burkholder said. “He is still talking with various teams about continuing his career, but having him help our young defensive group is a real asset.” 

McKee was Buffalo’s first round pick in the 1995 NHL Draft.

“For me, while still holding out hopes of landing an NHL position this season, it is an honor and a privilege to be part of an organization and program as well respected as Niagara University and Niagara Purple Eagles hockey,” McKee said. “The current room of players is full of solid character, great work ethic and very exciting to watch. This team, combined with a dedicated and energetic coaching staff, can do very special things this year. I look forward to bringing what I was taught and learned, while playing with and against some of the NHL’s greatest players for 13 years and passing those lessons along to Niagara’s players.”

With McKee’s arrival, Jeff Weber has been named director of hockey operations.