Skip to content

Melville Millionaires hometown pair helps on ice, with community

Carter McKay and Payton Kostyshyn are howntown products who are are having an impact on the ice and in the community.
Carter McKay and Payton Kostyshyn of the Melville Millionaires are having an impact on the ice and in the community.

MELVILLE — In their second seasons with the Melville Millionaires, hometown products Carter McKay and Payton Kostyshyn are having an impact on the ice and in the community.

After adjusting to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League as rookies in 2021-2022, the players have taken on bigger roles in this campaign. As well, they are both very active in the community. McKay was recognized as the Millionaires’ RBC SJHL Community Ambassador last season.

“They’re good ambassadors because of who they are and who they know,” said Melville head coach Mike Rooney, who also stated “It doesn’t matter what age, they’re just really helpful to people. They’re just good people. They’re good to people in the community.”


Hometown Boys

Kostyshyn and McKay grew up watching the Millionaires.

“When I was a kid, my dad and I would go to Mils’ games all the time,” Kostyshyn said. “We started in the old rink and then, more recently, we got our new arena, which was great for the community. It was always a dream to play for the Mils. Seeing those guys come to your school or your minor hockey practices was always the best and made you want to be one of them for sure.”

Both players are now enjoying suiting up for the hometown team. “Coming to the rink seeing familiar faces going to the rink and watching me play is really nice,” Kostyshyn said. “Also, being at home is a plus not many guys get to do that at the junior level so it’s pretty nice.”


On-Ice Contributions

Already this season Kostyshyn and McKay have surpassed the points totals they posted as rookies.

“I think the biggest factor which has allowed me to be successful this season is the work I’ve put in the offseason,” McKay said. “Last year was an eye opener for me and I learned what I needed to do in order to be successful.”

A 5-foot-10, 179-pound forward, McKay has scored eight goals and recorded 19 points in 28 games. As a 16-year-old rookie, he posted two goals and 14 points in 54 games.

“Carter is shaping into a good two-way centreman,” Rooney said. “He’s really good on draws. He makes plays. He’s a playmaker who has the ability to score. He has a good shot. He protects the puck well.”

At only 17, McKay has proven to be a key contributor. Rooney said he is still learning but has handled the physicality and skill of the SJHL well. McKay has seen time on both the power play and penalty kill.

Kostyshyn has a goal and five points in 17 games this season. The 6-foot-3, 212-pounder posted a goal and three points last season. Rooney praised the versatility that Kostyshyn has provided the Millionaires this season. In some games, the career defenceman has played regular shifts at forward, been in front of the net on the power play and played on the blue line on the penalty kill. Asked about Kostyshyn being able to move up front, Rooney said “Him being the person he is and team first, that makes it easy for him to do that.”

“Payton has that long, rangy body,” the coach said. “He’s really strong. I don’t know how many guys are as strong as he is in our league. At 19, he pushes weight in the gym.”

His strength allows Kostyshyn to be a physical presence both on the blue line or upfront when forechecking or driving the net and creating space for his teammates. Rooney also praised the second-year player’s heavy shot and straight-ahead speed.


Community Involvement

Kostyshyn and McKay’s community involvement is inspired by their own interaction with the Millionaires as youngsters.

“The thing I enjoy most about being involved in the community is spending time with the kids,” McKay said. “I remember looking up to the Mils when I was younger and now I try my best to be a good role model for them.”

Kostyshyn said “It’s nice knowing how much they look up to you, especially my little cousin.” He recalls well Millionaires attending his practices when he was younger and enjoys those interactions. McKay’s favourite community activity is helping out with the minor hockey skates.

“I think it’s a pretty cool way to connect with the kids and become more familiar with the upcoming players,” he said.

Kostyshyn also enjoys going to the schools and helping students with their work. As well, he likes when the team does events outside the rink like road hockey.