Derek MacKenzie was born June 11, 1981 in Sudbury, Ontario. The 5th choice, 128th overall selection of the Atlanta Thrashers in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, MacKenzie is a graduate of the Ontario Hockey League's Sudbury Wolves.
The Sudbury, Ontario native spent four seasons with the hometown Wolves finishing his career with 253 points (95 goals, 158 assists) in 257 games, and was named the winner of the 2000-01 OHL and CHL Face-Off Award after winning 67 percent of his face-offs (427-for-637). In his final season with the Wolves, MacKenzie led his team in scoring with 89 points (40 goals, 49 assists) and finished sixth in the OHL while ranking fifth in the OHL with 30 power-play assists and shared eighth with a career-high 40 goals.
A strong two-way player, MacKenzie has exceptional puckhandling skills and excellent hockey sense and has represented Canada on the international stage, helping Team Canada capture the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships and gold at the 1998 Under-18 World Tournament.
Following a successful junior career the Sudbury, Ontario native spent the majority of the 2001-02 season with the Thrashers AHL affiliate in Chicago, helping them capture the 2002 Calder Cup championship while playing in one game with Atlanta during the regular season. Over the course of the next two seasons MacKenzie continued to hone his skills in the AHL, while seeing limited action the Thrashers.
In 2006-07, MacKenzie would spend the majority of his time again in the AHL competing with the Thrashers' affiliate in Chicago. His six year stint as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers organization came to an end on July 12th, 2007 when the centreman signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.