AMHERST – From the time he first put on the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers jersey, Jordan King has thought of playing at a higher level.
With his junior A career at an end, the 20-year-old Corner Brook, N.L. resident has committed to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. and will join the Thunderhawks as a freshmen in September.
“I’m really excited about it, it’s a tremendous opportunity,” King said on Tuesday. “I knew when I started playing for the Ramblers that I wanted to use it as a stepping stone to something bigger and I’m thrilled with the prospect of playing CIS hockey next year.”
The 6’2”, 202-pound forward said he was thinking of several possibilities, including playing in the AUS this season. However, a recent trip to Thunder Bay settled it.
“It just seems like the right fit for me,” said King, who plans to study kinesiology. “It’s a very good program for hockey and education.”
King said he wants to work on his speed and strength over the summer in preparation for the start of the season.
He said he enjoyed his time with the Ramblers and Amherst.
“Playing with the Ramblers help me regain my confidence,” King said. “I had the freedom to do my own thing and it helped me become better on both sides of the ice.
“I’m going to miss playing in Amherst, I loved playing there. The fans were unreal and the atmosphere was incredible. I had a warm feeling playing there.”
Thunderwolves coach Andrew Wilkins is happy with King’s decision.
“I’m pleased to add another talented forward to our lineup. He is a smart player with good size and he has the ability to provide some more offence for us,” Wilkins said.
King has been a proven scorer at almost every level he has played. After graduating from the Western Kings Midget AAA program in Newfoundland and a season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, King joined the Ramblers and immediately became a key part of that club’s resurgence.
In three seasons in Amherst, King scored 75 goals and added 132 assists for 207 points in 142 games. It was in the playoffs where he may have left his biggest mark on the franchise scoring in overtime in Game 7 of the Eastlink South semifinal against the heavily-favoured Weeks Crushers in March 2017.
He had 20 points during that playoff run and gained the admiration of Rambler fans.
“It’s a goal that will go down in Rambler lore,” coach and general manager Jeff LeBlanc said. “A lot of people don’t know this, but Jordan was on the ice for 11 minutes before he scored that goal. It was a do or die game and I'm the type of coach that lives or dies with his best players and he was my best player.”
LeBlanc said King going to Lakehead is another example of how the Maritime Junior Hockey League is a great for developing players for a higher level, whether it be major junior, college or pro.
“It has been his goal for a long time to play at a university level and Lakehead has a great program,” LeBlanc said. “They’re getting a great player and a great person on and off the ice. Being good at hockey is one thing, but when you’re good at hockey and are a true teammate and do so many wonderful things in the community without even being asked is what it’s all about.”
An example of the type of person King is, he was driving down a street in Amherst one day and saw a kid playing ball hockey. Instead of driving by, he stopped his vehicle and played ball hockey with the boy.
“That’s the type of guy he is,” LeBlanc said. “He is a class act all the day and will be remembered not only as a great hockey player but as a great person. It takes a special kid to do something of things that he did in the community. He’ll do well in life.”