King’s hockey school welcomed by the community

DJ King instructs a group on pre-novice age players during King's hockey school at Flying Dust arena. Each group had two on-ice sessions per day and was made up of about 25 players.

By Mac Christie

Last week the brand-new Flying Dust arena was filled with the sounds of hockey for the first time, as the building played host to the first-ever King’s hockey school.

One hundred kids attended the four-day affair, which had participants taking part in two on-ice sessions, as well as dryland training and in-class activities daily.

“It’s been really great,” DJ King said. “It’s long days, but it’s been good.”

The camp was instructed by the four King siblings, DJ, who plays for the NHL’s Washington Capitals, Dwight, from the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, as well as Danene and Dayna King, former University of Saskatchewan Huskies.

DJ noted there was a lot of interest in the camp from people in the area.

“We had people call, but we were too full,” he said. “We (didn’t) want to have too many kids on the ice. We wanted to make it fair so they could learn.”

But for those who couldn’t take part, DJ noted the family will likely make the camp an annual event.

This year’s school was split into four groups, pre-novice, novice, atom and peewee, but he said next year’s school could be two weeks, with more kids per age group.

He noted feedback from kids has been positive.

“They’re having a blast,” he said. “They’re a little tired at the end of the day, but that’s normal.

“I hope the parents think it’s good for the kids too, so that they come back next year.”

Thyra Berg, whose son Jake Willick was enrolled in the atom group, said she thought the camp was well organized.

“My son’s really enjoying it,” she said. “I think it’s a really good thing for the community and for the area for the kids to see some of their heroes come back and give back to the community.”

Berg expects there to be a lot of interest in the camp, if it is held annually.

Dwight King supervises ladder running during a dryland training session at King's hockey school Aug. 3. Each group had one session per day and many of the participants said they enjoyed the dryland aspect of the camp.

“The word will be out that it was well-run or well-organized,” she noted. “I think it will just drum up more support.”
For his part, Willick said he enjoyed the on-ice and dryland portions of the camp.

“I like the drills,” he said.

Danene King thought the camp ran smoothly, and it seemed to be a big hit.

“I never had a hockey school when I was growing up,” she said. “It’s good to give the kids the opportunity.”

Meadow Lake Minor Hockey Association president Brad Villeneuve agreed.

“We haven’t had this opportunity around the area for quite a while,” he noted. “It’s great for minor hockey.”

On the final day of the school, the King family presented a cheque to Flying Dust Chief Jim Norman for $5,000 to put toward the new arena.

Norman said the donation is special, because they’re giving back to the community.

“You hear stories sometimes where people have gone to the next level, and then forgotten about their community,” he said. “You don’t see that with them. They didn’t forget about where they came from.”

He said the hockey school is just another example of them remembering their roots.

“They’re showing the young people that if they could do it, (the kids) can do it, too,” he said. “It brings confidence and more expectation of achievement to the kids.”

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