AAA Bantam Kings captain Mark Hillier believes team chemistry key to team’s success

Dave Kearsey dkearsey@thewesternstar.com
Published on December 21, 2016

Mark Hillier is seen here during a recent Western Kings AAA bantam hockey team practice at the Kinsmen Arena II. Hillier, who is captain of the team, says the Kings are in first place at the Christmas break because of a complete team effort with all hands playing their assigned roles.

©Chris Quigley/TC Media

Mark Hillier may be one of the dominant players in the provincial AAA bantam hockey league, but he’s quick to compliment his teammates for the team’s success heading into the Christmas break.

The 5-11 pivot for the Western Kings has amassed 21 goals and 20 helpers in 19 games to help the Kings sport an impressive 17-2 record and top spot in the standings at the Christmas break.

Hillier, a second-year player who is the team’s captain, believes team chemistry is the key to the team’s success this season.

He said all hands work hard, they support the guy next to them and they put the team first before any individual accomplishments. It’s a more cohesive group than the one he played with in his first season of provincial AAA bantam hockey.

“We click together and that’s how we win our games,” he said. “Every single player is good and they all know the role they play and they do it, and that’s why we’re in first place.”

Hillier has played on the team’s top offensive unit with Skylar Coates, second in league scoring with 36 points and Jesse Hickey, ninth in league scoring with 18 points.

He likes how the line has performed and he figures there will be more to come in the New Year.

“I have two great guys on my line and we’re going to keep working hard for the rest of the year,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll be together right at the end of the year and on top of the scoring lead.”

The league boasts a number of tough opponents, but Hillier makes no bones about it that St. John’s, on the heels of the Kings only seven points out with four games in hand, will be a team the Kings should get ready for because of the talent they have throughout the lineup.

“They are definitely a good team and we have to look out for them,” he said. “We haven’t played them since the first warm-up tournament so we got to be ready to play them because they will be coming hard.”

Hillier will have a week or so to enjoy family and friends during the holidays. His brother Brandon will be home from the University of New Brunswick and his grandmother Helen Dobbin will be making the trek from Labrador City to be around the Christmas tree with loved ones.

“It’s going to be good having everybody together. Without everybody it wouldn’t be the same,” he said.

It’s about making new memories for the next week. The Kings will be in action early in January when the team travels to Halifax for the annual IceJam major midget hockey tournament.