Nathan King is a big boy standing six-foot-one at 15 years of age, but his body has never been put through the true test of taking punishing hits along the boards.
It is a part of the game going to find out about.
King, a Corner Brook resident, will be one of the fresh faces in the Western Kings lineup when they host the East Coast Blizzard for a three-game series this weekend at the Corner Brook Civic Centre as the provincial major midget hockey league opens the 2018-2019 season.
King, younger brother of former Western Kings star Jordan King, was limited to nine games of hockey with body contact last winter as a member of the Corner Brook Royals team that won the provincial bantam A hockey championship.
He never had a chance to play AAA bantam hockey last season because the Western Kings franchise folded.
It left him with no choice but to suit up with the Royals in Bantam A play.
The pace is quick and there’s a lot of big guys crashing and banging in major midget hockey so it’s going to be new territory for King, but he’s feeling good about how he’s handling the physicality that comes with being a King.
“I just have to be aware of my surroundings and keep my head up,” King said Thursday while enjoying lunch break at Corner Brook High where he’s a Level 1 student this year.
Playing the game at a higher level is something that he was looking forward to this year because he hopes hockey will be a part of his future after minor hockey.
He has hopes of playing college or major junior hockey certainly options he would explore if the opportunity arises down the road.
“I love playing the game and I wanted to step my game,” he said of his desire to play the game at the highest level available to him at home.
He learned a lot about being prepared and how to conduct himself on the ice from watching his brother come up through the system, but he doesn’t see himself as the offensive force his brother turned out to be and that’s just fine with him.
He considers himself an unselfish player, always willing to work hard for loose pucks and feed his linemates with scoring chances is more his way of thinking on the ice.
The right-winger will be wearing No. 7 for the Kings tonight in the home opener against the Blizzard 8:30 p.m. at the Corner Brook Civic Centre.
He said the guys are eager to get the season going and he likes the atmosphere among the group heading into opening weekend.
“There’s a lot of energy. Everybody is excited,” he said. “We got a good group of guys so hopefully we will do good this year.”