FOR THE MORNING STAR
Swift Current Broncos Head Coach Dean Brockman is excited about what 6-foot-2 and 190 pound, 17-year-old forward Ben King will bring their team this coming season.
“You are going to see a bigger and stronger Ben King this year, and he’s going to take charge,” Brockman stated.
“He was a first-round pick in this league and those guys are special players. You don’t want to put too much pressure on a young guy but at the same time, I know he relishes that and he’s going to play some big minutes as a 17-year-old,” he went on.
Big minutes was what King played a season ago at just 16 years of age.
The Vernon native joined a team that just went all-in en route to a WHL title in 2017-18. With all those players going pro, King was able to play a lot, right away.
“It sucked not being on a winning team, but I had so much opportunity, a lot of ice time, and they put me in key situations. It helped my development and seeing what it was like to play in this league. It was huge to come in and get that opportunity coming in right away,” King said.
“Benny was great for us. He just brings that skill element at this level. He showed as a 16-year-old, he can play with the big guys,” Brockman said.
Also helping his development was being around the championship team for seven games as a 15-year-old.
“It was pretty surreal. All those guys are a bunch of pros now and just to see how they play the game and how they handle themselves off the ice. It all led to winning the championship and it was pretty awesome. I couldn’t be happier,” King relayed,
In just 48 games in his rookie season in 2018-19, King put up five goals and 21 assists for 26 points. He missed 20 games, due in part to a wrist injury.
“Unfortunately, he had that injury but he got a good test of it. It’s his draft year so we want to surround him with as many good players as we can,” Brockman said.
“That was a tough bounce with my wrist but it healed quickly, and I haven’t had any problems since. It feels good now,” King went on.
Swift Current needs King to realize the potential he has shown. That potential helped him get taken 13th overall in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. King was hard at work this summer trying to improve his game and help his team improve on the 11 wins they put up last season.
“I worked a lot on my speed and my shot. The league is really fast and if you’re not a great skater it’s hard to be successful. Also, the goalies in the league are really good unless you’ve got a really hard and accurate shot, so I worked on that as well,” King said.
“Number one (personal goal) is to get drafted at the end of the year. And just to be a key player on our team and play in those minutes and be a guy who is out there in the last minutes of the game. To be a role player and to put up points,” King stated.
King has already seen enough from his team in training camp to feel like they can improve on their last overall finish last season.
“We have some new guys and most of the same guys as well. Everyone is older and trained hard in the summer. I think we will have a much better year. It should be fun.”
If they are to make a run for the playoffs, Swift Current needs to realize the potential Brockman sees in King.
Brandon Rivers is a writer for dubnetwork.ca. He has given permission for the story to be used