King family hosts hockey school

Dwight King

Close to 100 children laced up their skates for the second annual King family hockey school Aug. 7-10 on Flying Dust First Nation. Here, Dwight King of the NHL champion L.A. Kings takes to the ice with a group of participants.

by Phil Ambroziak

Young hockey players from Meadow Lake and area had an opportunity last week to learn from some of the best.

Dwight King of the National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings joined his brother D.J. and sisters Dayna and Danene, along with other instructors, for the second annual King family hockey school, held Aug. 7-10 at PineRidge Ford Place on Flying Dust First Nation. Close to 100 children were on hand for the hockey camp, which was designed as a means of bettering their game and preparing them for the upcoming minor hockey season.

“We allow for a capacity of 100 kids, and the turn out has once again been really good,” Dwight King said. “It’s pretty much a full-day process that includes some on-ice training in the morning where we teach them different skating techniques while, outside, the kids take part in different strength and muscle-building activities.”

Upstairs at the arena, there were classroom sessions on stick handling and other important skills.

“Things have been pretty good,” King reiterated. “Certainly, as instructors, we’ve learned a lot going from one year to the next. Some of the students from last year have even seen an improvement in their game. We can’t take all of the credit, but the benefits are surely there.”

King, who recently signed a two-year deal with Los Angeles, joined the team near the beginning of this year’s playoff season and contributed to L.A.’s championship victory – the first in franchise history. His brother, D.J., also a pro hockey player, is currently signed to the Washington Capitals franchise. Their sisters have also had their share of hockey success.

In spite of L.A.’s Cup win, Dwight King believes the family hockey school would continue to be as popular as it’s already proven.

“We (attendance) were actually full before any of that (Stanley Cup) happened, but I’m sure it has helped generate some interest,” he said. “But, we were already at our maximum numbers.”

Participants were broken up into four groups, with each group benefiting from two instructors. The school is geared toward players from peewee to pre-novice levels.

“When I was growing up, there were hockey schools to go to in Meadow Lake,” D.J. King remarked. “But, in the last few years, there have not been as many. When they built the new arena at Flying Dust, it served as a good opportunity for us to do something like this and to give back to the community. This way, a lot of local kids can attend a hockey school without having to travel to places like Saskatoon.”
D.J. King went on to say 100 is a good number to cap attendance at.

“Once you start taking more than 100, it’s no longer fair to the other kids,” he said. “Lines become too long and participants aren’t getting as much attention as they should. Our main goal this year was to be well-organized. Word-of-mouth is the best advertisement for sure, so we want to make sure everything is done right.”

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