Colemans Western Kings’ Jordan King, right, sprawls in an effort to poke the puck away from teammate Jalen Gillard during a drill at team practice Wednesday night at the Kinsmen Arena II. — Star photo by Chris Quigley
CORNER BROOK Jordan King only celebrated his 16th birthday Wednesday, but he’s expected to take on a leadership role when the Colemans Western Kings begin defence of the crown this weekend.
King, a Corner Brook native, is among the core players back with the Kings for another go around with hopes of defending the provincial major midget hockey league crown.
King wore the C on his Kings jersey for the league’s annual pre-season tournament held last week at the Goulds Arena, but the Kings coaching staff haven’t named the team’s captain or the alternates for the 2013-14 season. It is expected that King will wear a letter for the team and he’s fine with whatever extra responsibility is placed on him even though he’s entering his sophomore season.
“It’s a big step up for sure,” King said of being expected to play a leadership role. “It’s more responsibility now and you kind of have to almost take charge and lead by example for sure.”
King’s effort in his rookie season has a lot to do with his status as one of the leaders. He created nightmares for opposing goalies around the league last winter, finishing fourth in team scoring in the regular season with 30 points (9G, 21A) and adding six goals and five helpers in 12 playoff games as the Kings won their first crown since the 1996-97 campaign.
For his efforts, he got the nod as the league’s rookie of the year as a 15-year-old and eventually got rewarded by being drafted by the Halifax Mooseheads in the seventh round (128th overall) at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft back in June.
The Kings posted four straight wins at the pre-season exhibition tournament in Goulds and King liked how the team handled itself as a group for the first time in game situations. He said it helped that half of last year’s team is back in the fold to provide some familiarity and feels it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the guys start to blend.
“We came together really quick as a team out there. We just gelled together,” he said.
King is known for his offensive punch so he feels shooting the puck more will be one priority on his list this year, but he also knows he has to bulk up to adjust to the speed and size of players expected to challenge him down the road.
“Just get bigger and stronger as the year goes on,” he said of his development plan.
King believes a winning attitude is what he will preaching to his players before opening the season this weekend with a two-game set (Saturday 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.) against the Central IcePak at the Kinsmen Arena II.
He’s excited about opening the season as defending champions.
“It’s a lot of pressure for sure, but I think we can handle it,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll entertain the crowd and hopefully we get a lot of fans out.”
Even though the team has only been together for a few weeks, King believes a repeat is certainly in the cards.
“Bring the same intensity as we did last year and I think we can do it and hopefully everything falls into place,” he said. “I think we can definitely compete with the other teams and hopefully go for it all again this year.”
The 2013-14 Kings roster for opening weekend includes Luke House of Corner Brook, Ian Woolfrey of Corner Brook, Lucas McKay of Deer Lake, Jamie Penney of Corner Brook, Lucas Reid of Deer Lake, Ryan Hobbs of Corner Brook, Michael Lundrigan, Brady Griffin-Hefford of Corner Brook, Jordan Richards of St. Anthony, Shannon Moores of Flower’s Cove, Derian Gould of Deer Lake, Dylan Sceviour of Massey Drive, Tommy Ryan of Massey Drive, Nathan Ellsworth of Rocky Harbour, Brandon Sexton of St. Anthony, Luke Parsons of Rocky Harbour, Scott Delaney of Corner Brook, Jalen Gillard of Deer Lake and Ian Pilgrim of St. Anthony.