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King ready to lead Troops in 'over age' season

Waterloo native Nick King is going into his overage season with the North Bay Battalion, a team stacked with rookies
North Bay Battalion defenseman and Waterloo native Nick King (10) keeps an eye on his man in this file photo from October 2017.

He sat in the stands, just below press row.

Observing what the future may hold for those that he will help lead over the next several months.

Doing so in the very arena he grew up watching OHL stars hone their skills, whether a member of the Kitchener Rangers or the opposition.

Waterloo native Nick King wasn’t in the lineup Saturday afternoon for his North Bay Battalion, as the team works through their young roster this preseason.

But sometimes, every good king needs to sit back and get a birds-eye view.

Originally drafted by the Owen Sound Attack in the 10th round in 2015 --- a product of the Waterloo Wolves program --- and later traded north, King is entering his third season in the Gateway City as one of three overagers.  He wore an 'A' Friday night in a loss to Kitchener.

Not much of a point producer --- coming off a career-high 32 assists and 40 points in 2018-19 --- but King is durable, only missing one game for the Troops last season.

For a leadership style, King is looking to guys who helped lead the Battalion of the past.

"My first year, we had (former captain and Calgary Flames pick) Riley Bruce and (current Guelph Gryphon) Jesse Saban (on defense)," he said.

"They led our team very well, so I’m trying to look up to those guys and kind of do the same thing."

Plus, he only needs to turn his head for somebody who has been around the game for a long time.

Head coach Stan Butler has been around the block a few times, one of only a handful to collect over 700 OHL wins.

"It’s been great,” King said of playing under Butler’s 200-foot style of game, “He plays a real defensive game, doesn’t like all the cute stuff, doesn’t like all the dangling, just more about getting the puck deep and get to work.  I like that, it seems to be working."

"I just think we need to, when we are doing his systems in the games, we just really got to focus on what he tells us to do, and do that throughout the entire game."

Speaking of decision-making, the team decided to participate in the showcase in Kitchener again is big for King.

Playing in the Eastern Conference, the Battalion visit the Rangers once a year.

(North Bay visits Kitchener on January 17, 2020.)

"It means a ton,” King says of the chance to come home for the Labour Day weekend, “I get to see a ton of my friends that are here, and obviously my family.  I’ve grown up playing at this barn, watching the Kitchener Rangers play."

"It's always nice to come home."

Mark Pare

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