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Mark Robinson plans on being fair when picking Western Kings roster

Mark Robinson is the new head coach for the Western Kings in the provincial major midget hockey league. Robinson takes over the team in its first year of operation under a new ownership group and insists he will be fair in his effort to pick the best team out of the players who show up with a desire to crack the roster.
Mark Robinson is the new head coach for the Western Kings in the provincial major midget hockey league. Robinson takes over the team in its first year of operation under a new ownership group and insists he will be fair in his effort to pick the best team out of the players who show up with a desire to crack the roster.

Mark Robinson was committed to coaching the Western Kings in the provincial major midget hockey league this season no matter what happened in the bidding war for rights to operate the franchise on the west coast.

His named was listed as the head coach for three of the four bids submitted to league officials, including the bid presented by the previous ownership group led by Kevin McCarthy and coach Angus Head.

The Town of Deer Lake, with Robinson listed as head coach, was successful in its bid to have the franchise move from Corner Brook — where it’s been located for 30 years — to Deer Lake for the start of the 2017-18 season.

Robinson had no inkling of the level of interest there was in running the team when he committed to being the head coach for the team this year. He has a passion for coaching at the elite level, so he wanted to be the guy behind the bench this season.

He understands how some people feel about coaches being in a position where they could be coaching their own child, and he could very well find himself in that position because he has a son who played last season who will be eligible for a spot this season.

However, he said a look at other elite leagues on and off the island shows there are parents involved with coaching their own kids.

He said he wanted to coach elite players, but he also wanted to be able to watch his boys play the game. He noted that not everybody is qualified to coach at the major midget level, so availability of coaches is a challenge.

More importantly, Robinson said he has always given his players a fair shake, and he doesn’t foresee that changing when his focus will be on grooming a team based on the players who try to earn a spot on the team.

“They got to try out the same as everybody else, they got to prove themselves the same as everybody else,” Robinson said.

“At the end of the day it is what it is. People don’t see it that way sometimes. They like to find controversy in everything no matter if there is one or not.”

Robinson knows there is work to do to get the team ready and he’s not privy to all the details yet because he’s only had one meeting with the new ownership group.

He is only focused on being ready to put potential prospects through a series of workouts when the team holds a player identification camp May 6-7 at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex.

Players will make the team on their own merit, and he plans to be fair to everybody who makes an effort to play on the team.

Being able to coach a major midget team is something he’s excited about and he believes the people in Deer Lake are excited about welcoming the team to the Hodder.

Even when his sons have gone through the system, he plans to be involved in coaching at an elite level for years to come because it’s something he really enjoys and he plans on doing it in this province.

“I loves coaching the kids and bringing what I can to the team. I’m all in and committed to it,” he said.

He hopes to see players from all over the west coast try to crack the roster so he can have the best Kings team available.

If that means his son or a friend’s son doesn’t make it, then that’s just a part of life that all hands will have to deal with when it happens.

“If he’s not, he’s not, and that’s where it goes,” he said. “It’s what it is. I’m still going to have to coach because I am committed.”

Darren Langdon, former National Hockey League enforcer with a handful of teams during his career, will be an assistant coach with the Kings.

Robinson hopes to add another assistant coach and a trainer to the mix before too long. He has sent out feelers to see who is interested in joining the coaching staff, but hasn’t made a decision on who that will be.

He is only focused on putting a competitive team on the ice and prefers to leave the business side of things to the Town of Deer Lake.

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