Pre-Season Kicks Off This Week
The Grande Prairie JDA Kings take to the ice for the first time this weekend as a team as the hockey club officially kicks off its exhibition season.
The team however will be in unfamiliar territory, for the first time in club history the team will travel to Fort Saskatchewan to take part in an interleague exhibition double header with the Fort Saskatchewan Hawks. Talk between players and coaches has been nothing but positive and it would appear that the word excitement is becoming simply put, “a big understatement.”
Last season the Hawks finished with 11 wins, 22 losses, and 5 Shootout/Overtime losses, good enough for 27 points and 6th place in the Capital Junior Leagues East Division. Fort Sask put together enough wins towards the end of the regular season to capture the final playoff spot where they were eliminated in the first round by the Beaumont Chiefs 2 to 0 in the opening round best of three series.
On the other side the Kings finished with 30 wins and 6 losses which was good enough for second place in the Northwest Junior Hockey League. Despite posting a record year for points and individual accomplishments the Kings fell short of their ultimate goal in capturing a League Championship when they lost to the eventual champion Whitecourt Wolverines in the second round best of 7 series 4 games to 0.
The tale of the tape seems two fold and one would think based on records alone the Kings should have the edge in the weekend series. Still last season is last season and Kings coaching staff know full well this wont be an easy weekend for the hockey club.
Good preparation for the upcoming season and a little more in depth look at some players seems to be the same answers on what the coaches and upper management are looking for. With two weeks still to go before the start of the NWJHL regular season and more players still on their way possibly into the Kings lineup a lot is still left to be decided before the Kings home opener on September 21st against the Sexsmith Vipers.
With the 2012 – 2013 roster slowly taking shape the Kings are still waiting on word on the return of some potential players from Junior A camps as well the team has gotten word that a few more goalies should be in camp either by the weekend or early next week.
Other signings are expected to be announced closer towards the start of the NWJHL regular season.
Weekend Notes: Kings will be in Fort Sask Saturday night for an 8pm start and Sunday Afternoon for a 1pm start. After this weekends exhibition games the hockey club will return home, practice Tuesday night before playing their final exhibition game against the Sexsmith Vipers Thursday night at 8:30 pm at the Coca Cola Centre. Regular season kicks off September 21st vs those same two teams. The team should have a fairly young lineup iced as a handful of veterans from the previous season are unable to make the road trip.
JDA County Kings vs Fort St. John Huskies
JDA County Kings vs North Peace Navigators