The Westside Warriors have a pair of sizable holes to fill on their blueline for the 2010/11 season with the pending departures of Interior Conference Top Defenceman Brendan Ellis and co-captain Joel Woznikoski, but the team has taken a first step to add impact depth for the future with the commitment of B.C. Major Midget League product Michael King.
King joins the Warriors after being drafted by the Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice in the third round of the 2008 Bantam Draft, but he will forego the Major Junior route in favour of working towards playing NCAA Division I hockey.
"We phoned Kootenay and told them that I was going BCHL and was going for a scholarship," King told the Prince George Citizen. "They phoned quite a few times after that, wanting to talk and stuff but I think I made the right choice."
The 17-year old already stands six-fout-four but has considerable offensive ability to match his physical presence. King scored five goals and totalled 22 points in 39 games with the Cariboo Cougars, landing him sixth amongst all Major Midget League defencemen.
"Michael is a very skilled player who has put a high value on his education," says Warriors head coach Darren Yopyk. "We've been watching him for quite a while. He's a big kid and he makes plays; he has a very high panic threshold and all the tools to succeed at this level."
"It says a lot about our league that Michael has made the choice to play his junior hockey with the Warriors," Yopyk says. "He's made a choice that will allow him to grow and develop as a player for a couple more years."
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)