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Newtonmore shinty legend John MacKenzie honoured by chieftain title

By Staff Reporter

Donnie Grant and John MacKenzie, who has just been made the sport's chieftain, at a recent shinty memories event.
Donnie Grant and John MacKenzie, who has just been made the sport's chieftain, at a recent shinty memories event.

NEWTONMORE shinty great John MacKenzie has been given an honorary ambassadorial role with the Camanachd Association.

Mr MacKenzie was appointed chieftain at the sporting body's AGM which took place in Fort William on Friday night.

He said: "I'm not one to look for accolades and I am hugely appreciative of this gesture. It is a great honour for me and I am very humbled to be appointed chieftain of the association."

Mr MacKenzie had a hugely successful playing career for the Blue and Whites winning a double figures number of Camanachd Cup medals between 1962 and 1983.

He has been a supporter of the game at all levels and most recently has been the driving force behind the Shinty Memories project along with Kingussie great Donnie Grant.

The project helps former players and fans suffering from dementia and similar conditions to reconnect with the game and rekindle memories to aid their wellbeing.

Strathy shinty correspondent Dave Fallows said: "John's involvement in the sport with Newtonmore, both as a player and manager, and with the Camanachd Association, is legendary and his appointment is justly deserved."

Mr MacKenzie was elected unopposed. Also appointed was Richard Gall as vice chief, defeating David MacMaster in a vote.

Three new directors were appointed – Burton Morrison, Roddy MacCuish and Ross Brown, while Willie MacDonald was re-appointed for a second term.

Donald Skinner, Ian MacPhee and Jock Turner, who relinquished the role of chieftain held for over a decade at the AGM, were made members of honour.

A new rule agreed at the AGM means players in senior shinty must be a minimum age of 13 and have written parental permission if under-16 to play.

In future, players will only be allowed a maximum of three attempts to throw up the ball for a hit in. There is now also more clarity on what does or does not constitute a ‘kick’, where the ball plays the players, that is not a foul.

* Also taking place on Friday was the draw for the Macaulay Cup.

Newtonmore were drawn in the first round away to Lochaber at Spean Bridge, while Kingussie will be in action just down the road at Canal Parks against Kilmallie, both on May 20 next year.

Assuming that both clubs make it through the first round, they will meet on the Eilan on June 27 in round two with a semi final against Fort William, Kinlochshiel, Caberfeidh or Lovat on July 25.

The final is likely to be against Oban Camanachd or Kyles Athletic, to be played at Mossfield Park, Oban, on August 22.

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