The Wheatland Kings celebrated another great year with their banquet and award ceremony last Friday.

Forward Kage Yellowfly took home both the MVP and Times' Player of the Year award, which Kings GM Lee Smith said was well deserved.

"Kage is a very dynamic player, he plays both ends of the ice really well. He does have scoring touch which is big. He's definitely one of our leaders on the ice for sure. He's a quiet guy, he doesn't say a whole bunch in the room, but people follow him, and I think that makes a big difference," Smith said.

In a hockey locker room typically filled with boisterous personalities, Smith said having a quieter personality that leads by example can be huge for a locker room too, especially if you're in a tough situation and need a cool head to level everyone out. 

"He calms everybody down for sure, just with his demeanor and when he does speak, they listen." 

The story of the Kings' season can't be told without mentioning Head Coach Doug Raycroft, who stepped in at the midway point of the season and helped turn the team around. Before Raycroft joined the team the Kings were suffering from a 9-game losing streak, but a new bench boss helped them shoot up the rankings and even earn a playoff series win against Coaldale.

"When you have an opportunity to bring someone in like Doug Raycroft with his experience and his knowledge and just his expertise in hockey, you jump at that chance."

Raycroft's approach very clearly resonated with the players, and Smith attributes that to Raycroft's background in education, as he is also the principal at Strathmore High School. Similar to Yellowfly, Smith also pointed to Raycroft's calming influence.

With last season wrapped up officially through the banquet, Smith and the Kings are now looking forward to next season and building off of their success. 12-14 returning players will be either 18 or 19 next season, and with an entire year of experience under their belt already Smith expects this young core to lead to great things.

"That's huge in this league, if you can have a group like that where they're 19-20 years old it makes a big difference because the league is really made up of 19- and 20-year-olds."

The Kings will look to supplement their already young core on May 27 and 28 when they host their Spring identification camp in Chestermere. You can register on their website at

The other winners included:

  • Chase Tweit: top defenseman
  • Philip Raycroft: top forward
  • Rhett Harten: top defensive player
  • Chase Clayton: most dedicated player
  • Cole Tweit: most improved player

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