Mackey swayed by Bruins Swayman – Lowell Sun
BOSTON – There were several compelling candidates, but when it came down to casting her 7th Player Award vote, Elizabeth Mackey was swayed by Jeremy Swayman.
The Lowell native and lifelong Bruins fan was the grand prize winner of NESN’s 7th Player Award Sweepstakes, April 28. The Pelham New Hampshire resident won the grand prize of $10,000 courtesy of Berkshire Bank. In addition, she got to visit the NESN broadcast booth at first intermission of Thursday’s game, while also watching the Black and Gold blowout the Buffalo Sabres 5-0, before a packed house of 17,850.
“It feels great,” Mackey told the Lowell Sun. “I’m very excited. It was hard to believe at first. I didn’t believe it, but it happened.”
Awarded annually to the Bruin player who exceeded expectations of Bruins fans during the season, Swayman earned the honor with over 15,000 fans submitting their vote via NESN.com.
Mackey is an office manager for Diversified Site Services in Chelmsford, a Service-Disabled Veteran Small Business working on federal projects. An avid Bruins watcher, she submitted several ballot’s during the month-long process.
“I don’t even know how many I submitted,” said Mackey, 61, noting you could only vote once a day. “I think I did at least a handful. I don’t know if I did it every single day. It was like whenever I’d watch the games I’d be reminded, I’ve got to do my fan vote.”
For Mackey the grand prize was really an afterthought, it was more about awarding the player she felt best deserved it.
“I watch the Bruins all the time and voted all the time, which gets you in the sweepstakes,” she said. “That’s not even why I did it. It was just because I was doing the fan voting. I never expected that I’d win, but I did.”
There were several compelling candidates this season. First-year Bruin Erik Haula earned his fair share of support joining the team as a checking line forward, before emerging as the Bruins second line center. Injury plagued for the better part of four seasons, the pivot put together his most complete campaign since his inaugural run with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18.
Grinders Curtis Lazar and Trent Fredric also earned a few votes for their unheralded grunt work and tireless work ethic in the corners. But there was no doubt who would garner Mackay’s vote
“I kept picking Swayman all the time,” said Mackey.
A rookie netminder, Swayman, 23, has appeared in 35 games this season, posting a 20-11-3 record with a 2.34 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. The 6-foot-3, 197-pound netminder leads all rookie goaltenders in goals against average, save percentage, wins and shutouts (3).
The Anchorage, Alaska native has played 45 career games with the Bruins since he was drafted by Boston in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft (111th overall) with a career record of 27-14-3, including a 2.15 goals against average and .923 save percentage.
In addition to the 7th Player Award trophy, Swayman will receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of his choice, the American Heart Association.
“I really like him,” said Mackey. “I’ve liked him since he started with us. I’m really happy for him. I like the way he’s performed. He’s had a little slump towards the end of the season, but he’s been good.”
Although he served as the back-up to Linus Ullmark, Thursday night, the Bruin rookie was slated to play in the team’s regular season finale Friday night in Toronto.
Both Swayman and Ullmark have been a formidable tandem, known for their signature bear hug celebrations following each win, almost as much as their game-saving saves.
Ullmark was thrilled to see his teammate get the award.
“Awesome,’ Ullmark told the Lowell Sun. “I can’t think of anyone (better) to have it. He’s been putting in his work every single day, and is a great teammate. He’s been putting up the numbers as well in games for us on a regular basis. I think I may be the happiest guy about it.”
As they get set to open the playoffs next week against either Toronto or Carolina, Mackey remains optimistic.
“They’re looking good,” said Mackey. ‘I don’t know how far they’ll go, but we’ll see. I’m hopeful. We have playoff tickets, so I’m hoping to go even further, and go as far as they can take us.”