King makes Ice home debut

New Kootenay D-man already taking on big minutes on the back end.

The Kootenay Ice shored up their blue line last week, acquiring rearguard Tyler King from the Spokane Chiefs in exchange for rookie forward Hudson Elynuik.

Since the deal, which went down last Tuesday, King has appeared in three games with Kootenay, and seems to fit right in, playing top four minutes against the Tigers and the Broncos.

Kootenay is out a defenceman after Tanner Faith aggravated an injury during the B.C. Division road trip in December and will require season-ending shoulder surgery.

Rookie defenceman Troy Murray has steadily improved throughout the fall schedule, but the team was in need of someone with veteran experience, hence the deal for King, who admitted that the trade came as a surprise.

“It was definitely a shocker, I wasn’t really expecting it, but it was a good opportunity for me to come here and I’m glad it got done,” said King.

Since the trade, he suited up for three games, notching an assist in his debut with the Ice on Thursday in Medicine Hat against the Tigers.

Ice assistant coach Jay Henderson has taken notice of what the new blueliner brings to the table.

“He skates well, moves the puck well, he’s a great shot,” Henderson said. “Obviously he’s got to get familiar with our systems and a good week of practice will help with that, but I like the way he’s shown so far and he’s played some good minutes for us.”

Though the the Ice and his former team in Spokane are in different conferences, the geographical proximity ensures five meetings between the two clubs, three of which have already happened.

“I knew the Ice were always a hard working team and I think they play a little similar to how we did in Spokane, so I felt like I could fit in here pretty easily,” said King.

The 18-year-old defenceman is a former first round pick in the WHL bantam draft and is in his third year in the WHL. His time in Spokane under head coach Don Nachbauer has helped season him into a reliable presence on the back end.

“I’m a hard working D-man, try to be good in the defensive zone and jump up in the rush every once in a while, try to get some offence going,” said King. “Just do whatever I can back there to keep the puck out of the net.”

 

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