Keith Yandle is an American-born player who began his hockey career at the co-ed, college prep boarding school, Cushing Academy. While there, he was named as a New England prep First Team All-Star (2004-05).
“Keith is the total package of skating, size, skill, hockey sense, vision and leadership ability. He is a clutch performer who is at his best in highly competitive situations. He is especially strong quarterbacking the power play. He is very strong passing the puck with hard accurate passes. He is also very strong in his own end.” – Steve Jacobs, Cushing head coachAdvertisement
After prep school, Keith was to attend the University of New Hampshire (similar to his brother), but he decided to forego his eligibility and play for the QMJHL instead. In his first and only year playing for the Moncton Wildcats (2005-06), Yandle helped the team become first in the league, helped lead them to the Memorial Cup finals and received the Émile Bouchard Trophy being named the league’s best defenseman as well as the Telus Trophy for CHL defensive player of the year.
Yandle was drafted in the 4th round of the 2005 NHL Entry draft by the Phoenix Coyotes (105th overall). He spent most of his first year with the franchise and split the second year playing for the Coyotes AHL team, the San Antonio Rampage (2006-07). He also took part in the AHL All-Star game in his sophomore season as part of the PlanetUSA team (2007-08). At the start of the 2010-11 season, Yandle along with teammate Vernon Fiddler were named alternate captains for the Coyotes.