Chelsea and Courtney King of St. John's are teammates on AUS team
© Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Courtney King (left) is a rookie with Mount Allison's women's hockey team, while her sister Chelsea (right) is in her second year in the Mounties. The St. John's natives each have seven points at the halfway mark of the 2010-11 AUS women's hockey season.
Bev King never envisioned having two hockey-playing daughters, but now her face glows as she talks about her teenagers playing at Mount Allison University in Sackvill, N.B..
The mother of Chelsea, 19, and Courtney, 18, said she thought of her girls competing in figure skating, gymnastics and swimming, but admitted once they started playing hockey, that sport pretty much had all of their attention.
The girls had already shown an interest in several other sports, including basketball, baseball and soccer before they got hooked on hockey, but once they did, “they never looked back,” according to their mother.
“I just couldn't see them playing hockey, especially with boys, but they were already playing minor baseball with boys,” said Mrs. King.
The two impressive young ladies ran track at the 2009 Canada Games, They also played for Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2010 Canadian ball hockey championship in St. John’s and continue to compete in that sport during the summer months, but hockey remains their passion.
While they both had different interests socially, “They were always supportive of each other in sports as they were growing up,” said Mrs. King, who added they get along well with each other.
“Well, we’re older and more mature now,” Chelsea noted with a smile.
They also played, from time to time, with boys teams at the peewee and bantam levels, which helped them prepare for the higher calibre women’s game at the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) level.
“The boys played at a faster pace and you had to keep your head up,” said Chelsea.
Courtney added that she noticed “the competitiveness with the guys because they didn’t want to ever lose a game or even the puck in the corner to the girls.”
The both agreed the quicker pace of the boys helped them learn to adapt to pressure situations better.
The girls were also able to hone their hockey skills and develop the technical aspects of their game with various drills at summer hockey schools in Canada and the United States.
Both competed with the Atlantic Canada team in Chowder Cup tournament in Boston a couple of times. Courtney competed in prestigious tournaments in Stoney Creek, Ont., Detroit, Mich., and Lake Placid, N.Y., while attending prep school at Ridley College in St. Catherines, Ont., where she was named athlete of the year.
Chelsea, who graduated from booth Memorial High School in St. John’s, said she considered going to Memorial University, “but at the end of the day, the reason I went to Mount Allison was because they had a hockey team,” and because of the influence of former Mounties coach and athletic director Jack Drover, a St. John’s native, who went out of his way to recruit fellow Newfoundlanders for his program over the years.
Courtney, who applied to a few universities in the United States, admitted “being away by myself was no big deal, but, in the end she chose Mount Allison because it was a small school and close to home.
“You know a lot more people and everyone is very close. Getting a good education and being able to play hockey is that little bit extra,” added Courtney, who was recently named the Atlantic University Sport Subway female athlete of the week for a pair of goals in a 2-0 shutout over the Prince Edward Island Panthers.
Each of the Kings has seven points after the team’s first 11 games. Courtney has four goals, one more than Chelsey.
They’ve both noticed the difference size and power of the female players at the university level which is something they’ve had to adapt to, and they are continuing to work on improving their strength.
The Kings sisters, who are both listed as five-foot-two on the Mount Allison website, said they like playing under head coach Zach Ball.
Chelsea, a second-year chemistry major, pointed out “he’s turned the team around this season.”
After a 2-21 campaign last year, the Mounties are 5-6 so far this year.
Courtney, a first-year general science student, who eventually hopes to do biology, said Ball is “pretty good with you one-on-one and in teaching you how to develop your skills and get better,” and Chelsey nodded in agreement.
Given the two athletes’ character it isn’t surprising coach Ball is more than happy to have the pair at Mount A.
Ball said while the sisters don’t play together, they are on the team’s top two lines and he added both Newfoundlanders are fitting in well on and off the ice at the university.
“The King sisters have been great additions to Mounties women’s hockey,” Ball said.
“Both contribute every game and have played a major role in our successes. They’ve been great on the ice as well as in the dressing room and they seem to only be getting better.
“Chelsea is a hard working winger who has a great competitive spirit. She will be the first one in the corner and she always gives us a chance to win the puck.
“Courtney has a great set of hands and the ability to see an open player even if they are right behind her. She is a great playmaker and an all-around talented centre,” he noted.