Hockey royalty for Sask.'s King
Earns two assists in Cup clincher
By Daniel Nugent-Bowman, The StarPhoenix
June 13, 2012
Although Dwayne King was standing right next to his son moments after he lifted the Stanley Cup, he's still processing what he witnessed.
"I can't really talk, I'm still so emotional," King said. "It's still sinking in for me."
King's son, Dwight, and the Los Angeles Kings were crowned Stanley Cup champions Monday after knocking off the New Jersey Devils in six games.
King - a winger with the team - chipped in with two assists as Los Angeles won the decisive contest 6-1.
He became the first player from Meadow Lake to win the Stanley Cup since Jeff Friesen did so with the Devils in 2003.
"We've had thousands of calls from back home in Meadow Lake," Dwayne King said Tuesday from Los Angeles. "Everybody is so proud of him."
As is his last minor hockey coach, Dale Grayston.
The Shellbrook resident coached King during the 2004-05 season with the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League's Beardy's Blackhawks, watching on as the rugged winger led the team in scoring while playing in all 44 league games.
"I know his goal was to get to the NHL back then," Grayston said.
"He was never full of himself. He was always just working toward where he wanted to get to."
King, who was selected fourth overall by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2008 WHL bantam draft, also got the call to play for Team West at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge that season - a rare feat for a 15-year-old.
But when Grayston told King he needed to work on his acceleration, King took the suggestion to heart. Soon he was improving his skating, providing the perfect balance to go with his then6-foot-2, 200-pound frame.
"It's nice to see with the stuff he's needed to improve on over the years he's worked really hard and you can see it coming together for him," Grayston said.
"We were just one stop for him. You could tell he was going to do some good things."
King was drafted by Los Angeles in the fourth round in 2007.
After finishing his fouryear WHL career with the Hurricanes in 2009, King split the next season with the ECHL's Ontario Reign and the AHL's Manchester Monarchs. He made the jump to the AHL on a full-time basis in 2010-11, scoring 24 goals in 72 games, while dressing in six contests with the big club.
King spent most of this season with the Monarchs until an injury to Melville native and former Saskatoon Blazer Jarret Stoll on Feb. 11 earned him a call up. The 22-year-old stayed with Los Angeles the rest of the season, scoring five goals and 14 points.
King mostly played on a third line with Stoll and winger Trevor Lewis in the playoffs, but also saw time with offensive players Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
He finished the postseason with five goals and eight points.
"Being a big, strong guy, you could see his ability to get on the forecheck and get on the defencemen really paid off," Grayston said. "You have a guy who has the upside of being able to chip in the points when they're needed, but also he can take up good minutes wearing down the opposition's D.
"He wasn't a spare part. He played some important minutes for them and also chipped in some important points."
Surely, Dwayne King will remember what his son accomplished once everything sinks in.
He was still in Los Angeles Tuesday with relaxing as Dwight, and the rest of his teammates, appeared on the late-night television show Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Dwayne's wife, Donna; daughters, Danene and Dayna; and son, D.J. - who was also coached by Grayston and is now in the Washington Capitals system - were all still there, making the moment extra special.
Good thing too, because they'll probably be required to fill in the blanks later on.
"Very proud, overwhelmed, speechless most of the time," Dwight King said. "I'm just happy. I don't know how to put it in words. It's just amazing."
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