On Sunday night the 2012 – 2013 JDA Kings training camp came to a close with the hockey clubs black/white inter-squad game. Tied at 2 halfway through the second frame Team White eventually pulled away from Team Black and won 8 to 3.
“Good intensity all weekend, we had a heavier schedule then in years past with our off ice conditioning, skills sessions, and games crammed into 2 and a half days but guys worked hard and bought in which is good to see” said Kings Head Coach Kyle Chapple.
Three weeks ahead of schedule the Kings havent started a training camp this early ever.
“Were happy with the turnout but we know we have a good amount of guys potentially still coming to try out before the season starts based on how they perform at other Junior camps. We’ve been working hard all season to prepare for this year and think this is the best shape a Junior B team has been in in Grande Prairie ever, our team is really looking forward to this year” said Chapple.
Last season the Kings finished second in the NWJHL standings and lost in the semi-finals to the eventual league champion Whitecourt Wolverines. The Wolverines have since graduated to the Alberta Junior Hockey League and while last reason the organization was happy with the improvement this season expectations are even higher for the hockey club.
“Anything less then a Championship this season will be a disappointment” notes Chapple.
With a roster that features over 15 returning players the team knows that it is in a win now mode. Gone from last seasons roster are three graduating players, captain Chad Sutherland, Liam Moon, and Cody Atkinson. The Kings are also on the lookout for a goalie as veteran netminder Tyler Vant Erve has committed to attend Law School at the University of Alberta. Joining Vant Erve in Edmonton will be forward Zac Michalko who also is planning on attending post secondary school.
With 15 returning players that didn’t leave a lot of opportunity.
“We are very deep at the forward position and its a tough lineup to crack there. We were a little light on defensemen this camp but we have 3 to 4 guys were waiting on in Junior A camps”.
With a handful of cuts now made the remaining Kings players will be put through two weeks of practices before the team plays its first exhibition games of the season on September 8th and 9th in Fort Saskatchewan against the Fort. Sask Hawks of the Capital Junior B Hockey League. The team will then host its only home preseason game against the Sexsmith Vipers on September 13th.
JDA County Kings vs Fort St. John Huskies
JDA County Kings vs North Peace Navigators