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Corner Brook’s Joshua Buckle embracing life in the crease as Kings puck stopper

Western Kings AAA peewee goalie Joshua Buckle poses for the camera outside of the team bus. Buckle will be busy this weekend trying to keep pucks out of the cage as the Kings hit the ice for a provincial AAA peewee hockey league tournament weekend with two games in Corner Brook Friday and two more Saturday in Rocky Harbour.
Western Kings AAA peewee goalie Joshua Buckle poses for the camera outside of the team bus. Buckle will be busy this weekend trying to keep pucks out of the cage as the Kings hit the ice for a provincial AAA peewee hockey league tournament weekend with two games in Corner Brook Friday and two more Saturday in Rocky Harbour. - Dave Kearsey

He is driven to be good at his craft.

He understands that he has to be committed to working hard to get where he wants to be.

He has a sense of humour that can go a long way in a stressful situation.

He has no fear, well with the exception of taking a slapshot off the mask from a crisp shot from teammate Lucas Pittman.

Joshua Buckle appears to be the right fit for the crease.

Buckle, 11-year-old son of Corner Brook’s Ash and Heather Buckle, is the No. 1 puckstopper for the Western Kings in the Newfoundland and Labrador AAA Peewee Hockey League.

Buckle played the game as a forward for seven years, but he wasn’t impressed with his development over the course of time so he got discouraged and thought about quitting.

He just didn’t think he had the skills required to be an effective hockey player so he thought about pursuing other interests like snowboarding and golf to keep active and socially engaged with his peers.

His take on the game changed late last season when he got to strap on the goalie pads for the first time when the coaching staff needed a goalie to fill in the crease for an atom house league practice.

His coaches gathered up some goalie gear from the minor hockey room and he hit the ice not having a clue how he was going to feel.

“I thought I was pretty decent. Better than I was as a player,” he said. “I thought I had better reflexes for being a goalie than I did as a player.”

Buckle’s team sits in the cellar in the standings with only one win in 19 games, but he’s keeping optimistic that his teammates are working hard to get better and doing what they can to put more wins on the board.

Being the goalie on a team that is struggling to win games brings a fair amount of pressure because nobody likes seeing losses pile up. He’s aware how many people place blame on the goalie when a team loses, but he’s not going to let that be a factor in his approach.

But, he figures all hands will benefit from playing against the best players in the province so he just keeps his mind on being the best he can be on any given day.

“I have to give it all I got to be good and I’m always hoping I do well that game,” he said.

A fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs who lists Frederik Andersen as is favourite goalie, the Kings goalie attended a weeklong goalie camp offered by the Toronto Marlies over the summer to improve his skillset and he believes that commitment helped prepare him for what was in store for this season.

“When I first joined the league I was pretty nervous because it was my first season being a goalie. I felt a lot of pressure because I didn’t think I was ready for this,” he said.

Ready or not, Buckle is in for the long haul.

He looks forward to the day where pucks hitting him, even if it’s at his mask, becomes a routine when he patrols the crease.

He’s not afraid to put in the work to see what the crease brings to him in the future.

Buckle will be gunning for the W today when the Kings play two games — 10 a.m. against the St. John’s Hitmen and 3 p.m. against the TriPen Ice — at the Corner Brook Civic Centre.

Weekend Warriors

Western Kings schedule

Friday

Corner Brook Civic Centre

10 a.m. — St. John’s Hitmen vs Western Kings

3 p.m. — Western Kings vs TriPen Ice

Saturday

Gros Morne Complex

9 a.m. — Western Kings vs Central IcePak

2 p.m. — TriCom Thunder vs Western Kings

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