Itching to get on the ice

·3 min read

The newly-formed team had only hit the ice this season as players were eager to sharpen their skills and play hockey. Unfortunately for the players, as with the rest of the population, they were shut down due to stricter health restrictions. The last game the Junior A players experienced was on November 7, when they went up against the High Prairie Red Wings at the Multiplex.

Due to the stringent health guidelines, most of the players remained in Fox Creek during the past two months and over the Christmas break. Many billet families stepped forward to help fill the void players felt from not being permitted to travel to celebrate with their own families over the holidays.

Head Coach Dean Whitney commented, "although it wasn't ideal for the players to be away from their families during Christmas, they understood and made the best of it. The billet families helped to make each of them feel like they were part of the family". The players have been keeping a relatively low profile due to health regulations and with the ice rink and gym facilities' closed, they haven't had the opportunity to practice the sport they love so much. Unless otherwise stated by Premier Kenney or Dr. Hinshaw, the plan is to be back on the ice on January 22 for the pre-scheduled game against the Slave Lake Ice Dogs.

It was a slow start to the 2020/2021 hockey season for the Ice Kings. As a new team gaining their footing in the Junior A's, October was disappointing with a brutal straight four-game loss. The roster had also taken a big hit in October when several players suffered injuries. Before the teams' fifth game, trades were completed, which helped boost the team standings. The Ice Kings did go on to lose the next game, but only in overtime. The games have become more competitive as the Ice Kings kept up or surpassed the other teams' experience, lessening the scoreboard gap and ultimately took the team to its first game win on Halloween.

The Ice Kings will start the year off with a full roster after completing a few trades and signing of new players over the holidays. In total, six players were added, bringing the roster up to a team of 25 players. In the meantime, the billet families are the glue keeping the team together until they can reunite with one another back on the ice. As last reported, due to the closures, the Greater Metro Hockey League plans to extend the season into April and May with the anticipation of playing all games required before the summer break. The extension will not affect those who hold season passes, as they will be honoured right through. It’s also hopeful, the new dining restaurant and coffee bar owned by the team will be permitted to open once the season resumes. Residents can anticipate exciting changes concerning the two new businesses, but we’ll keep that part under our hat until the team is ready to give the announcement.

Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press