Kings Prepare for Weekend Games – Logan Clow DHT
Parity has been a major headline in the North West Junior Hockey League early this season.
Kyle Chapple, head coach and GM of the County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings, is one of many who have taken notice to it already.
For one, the Dawson Creek Jr. Canucks lead the NWJHL with a 5-1 record, while the Kings follow in second with a 4-1 record. Only once in the past seven seasons have the Canucks finished with a winning record, and that was two seasons ago.
The Fairview Flyers – the league leaders last year – are off to an 0-4 start. The Flyers technically defeated the Kings 3-1 in their season opener in late September, but the Flyers had to forfeit the win due to an ineligible player.
“I definitely think there’s more parity. I think it’s great for the league. I think, basically, every night you play you better be ready,” said Chapple.
“I don’t think (the parity) changes the way we prepare (for games).
“It’s just good for the league to see that there’s going to be some close, tight games this year, and there’s not going to be a one, two, maybe three-team race, that’s going to take off (in the standings) from the rest of the league. I think it’s going to come down to the wire, and that’s why every game you play in the regular season this year is going to be that much more opponent.”
The Kings (4-1), who are second in the NWJHL with 32 goals, and have allowed a league-low eight goals against, travel to play the Fort St. John Huskies (2-2) Friday.
“We don’t know a whole lot about them,” said Chapple.
“I think, playing against a team that you haven’t seen before, there’s obviously probably going to be a little bit of a feeling out process early on in that game, but (we have to) make sure that we’re 100% ready to go and try and play a good road game and pick up the two points.”
Saturday, the Kings return to the Crosslink County Sportsplex to host the North Peace Navigators at 8 p.m.
The two teams have a long-standing rivalry.
“Any time that Peace River comes up on the schedule, you get excited for those games. Those are games that are usually competitive and they want to beat us, and we want to beat them,” said Chapple.
“We want to be a tough team to play against on home ice. We don’t want it to be an enjoyable place when teams come to play us.”
North Peace Navigators vs JDA County Kings
JDA County Kings vs Fort St. John Huskies
JDA County Kings vs Fairview Flyers