MRU Cougars men’s hockey appoint new captain
King looking to continue “Cougar hockey” culture growing with rebuilding team
By Sajan Jabbal, Staff Writer
Newly appointed Mount Royal Cougars Men’s hockey captain Jamie King and the rest of his squad have had a slow start to the season at 3-2-1, but are looking to bounce back and making a strong push for the playoffs.
King, 24, has been playing hockey since he was five years old. Growing up in northwest Calgary, he played for the Westwood Warriors as a young kid.
After his time with the Warriors and quadrant hockey for the Northstar Association, he made the transition to the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), where he picked up 101 points in three seasons with the Calgary Mustangs. He enjoyed his time in the AJHL but he prefers the level university hockey has.
“Oh it’s way different,” explains King. “It’s a different level obviously. It’s a lot quicker up here and the league is getting better every year. It’s obviously a way busier schedule as well, with university you have to worry about school, hockey, diet, everything like that. You have to be more grown up.”
Now in his last year of playing university hockey, King is going to miss the interactions more than the time on the ice.
“I know it’s a lot of fun on the ice, but I think the dressing room stuff is what everyone missed the most when they leave, you create friendships that last a lifetime, but then you don’t get to see them after.”
Being able to manage school and sports is hard for any university athlete and when you’re the captain of a team, there is a lot of extra work.
“You’re a grown up now, you actually have to go to classes. You have to commit yourself to the program and plan yourself accordingly; it’s all about time management.”
Even with his busy schedule, King still makes time for his family.
“I moved out in my second year, but I try to dedicate every Sunday to going home and eating dinner with my family.”
King is having a good school year in his final year of business; he says his school and his hockey play hand-in-hand.
“I would never have come to Mount Royal if I wasn’t good in school, and vice-versa,” said King. “If I never excelled in hockey, I would never be here either.”
He also believes that his time playing hockey will help him after he graduates as well, in whatever he decides to do.
“Hockey teaches you discipline and it teaches you how to interact with people, so when it comes to school or work time it’s not hard to introduce yourself to strangers or anything like that.”
Being his last year, this could be the last opportunity to play high intensity hockey although King has some options overseas.
“The Asian league over in Japan and China is kind of cool,” said King. “I have a buddy from the Mustangs that’s actually over in Korea right now and he told me all about it this summer, so it’s interesting.”
Although the team has a tough start to the season, they still has confidence in themselves
“Morale in the room is still good,” said King. “It’s different because we brought in so many guys this year, but we’re looking at the positives more than the negatives so we’re going to move on from there because there’s no point in dwelling on the negatives.”
The team revamped its roster with the loss of star players like the legendary Cougar captain Matt Brown, Cam Maclise, Emerson Hrynyk and Devin Gannon; they had to bring many rookies into the lineup.
“It was a huge loss losing those guys; it’s a totally different dynamic. You lose a captain you’ve had for three years and arguably the best Cougar of all time in Brownie. It’s definitely different but I think leadership has stepped up in a way where it’s more of a collective role than just kind of looking to just those four guys.”
This is King’s first year as captain, something he is very humble about.
“I didn’t go into the year expecting to be captain,” said King. “I didn’t go in the year saying I want to be captain, it’s just kind of how the chips fell. I show the rookies and other player that I’m not any different because I’m captain. I’m not going to do anything differently because I was all of a sudden named captain this year. “I was definitely surprised, but honoured more than anything.”
When it comes to the on ice interactions, King makes his presence known.
“I’m more of a lead-by -example kind of leader,” King mentioned. “I just want to be a calming presence and show the guys what we need to do to be successful.”
“We’re excited, we came off a win against Regina and there were some good things and bad things against them, but the attitude is upbeat. We’re looking for a bounce back week against U of L.”
MRU picked up two wins on the home-and-home on Oct. 20 and 21 and are currently on a three game win streak.
The Cougars look to be successful in a back-to-back against Manitoba as well, which starts on Oct. 27. You can catch them back home on Nov. 11, where they play the first edition of the Crowchild Classic on Military Night.