The former Western Kings star, in his final year of junior hockey eligibility, was the team’s leading scorer last season with 80 point in 49 games in the regular season and 20 points in 12 playoff games.
It was his effort in the playoff push last season that told coach and general manager Jeff LeBlanc the talented pivot was ready to take on the captain role with a team loaded up with acquisitions to make a run at a championship in the 50th anniversary of the Ramblers organization.
LeBlanc was impressed with how King put the team on his back after one of the team’s leaders — Andrew Shewfelt — left the team to play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League two days before the trade deadline.
“I found the way he worked and the way he pushed through adversity really showed me a lot,” LeBlanc said Monday. “He really came into his own in the playoffs and showed what kind of player and what kind of leader he is.”
Who wears the C for the Ramblers is something the organization puts a lot of thought into every season because the role is an important one with so many fresh faces coming into the fold every year.
LeBlanc said King deserves the recognition as a leader, not only for the way he leads by example on the ice, but for the way he carries himself off the ice as a guy connected to his community and the respect he gets from the Amherst community in general.
LeBlanc is aware that King had options to take his skillset elsewhere this season but opted to finish out his junior career in Amherst with a championship run foremost on his mind so he appreciates having him on board.
“To me, he’s a very loyal kid and it’s very good to see,” he said.
King is a soft-spoken kind of guy who prefers to do his talking on the ice, but he was feeling a sense of pride after being named the captain.
“It’s a big honour, for sure, and where it’s the 50th anniversary (of the Ramblers) it means a lot to me,” King said Monday from a break in his studies at Mount Allison University.
King knows he has taken on a role that brings a lot of responsibility, but he’s looking forward to the challenge and happy to be recognized as a leader.
It appears he’s not wasting any time showing he’s ready to lead.
The Ramblers opened the 2017-2018 Maritime Junior Hockey League season Saturday night with a 4-1 victory over the Pictou County Weeks Crushers with King leading the charge with a goal and an assist.
He’s a man on a mission knowing the Ramblers have a roster fully capable of making a legitimate run at winning it all this year after a disappointing exit in the second round last winter.
“Just being a leader on and off the ice, and going to war every night you play,” he said.