The Strathmore Motor Products King of the Week is rookie goaltender 18-year-old Rhett Harten from Indus.
The Wheatland Kings have gotten back into the win column and are on a three-game win streak thanks in part to a great performance on Sunday in Coaldale by Rhett Harten getting his third win of the year, he faced 30 shots, overtime, and a shoot out to help secure the win for his team.
Harten can see the shift in the team's confidence after a difficult start to the season, "Getting three wins in a row, it's really we're really starting to build off that and getting some steam."
Being a goaltender can be a difficult job. Kings goalie Rhett Harten explained sometimes it can feel like you're all alone, but having great teammates who support him no matter what can mean the difference between a win and a loss.
"A boost of energy can come in so many different ways, like a big save when the time is right, it can be a big hit or a big goal. I think we just have a team that works together to try to build each other up and build our confidence as well."
Harten is currently in his rookie season, which has been filled with some ups and downs. As he continues to adjust to the speed of Kings' games, he has his mind set on where he wants to grow as a player this season.
"Personally for me it's consistency, I've had some super good games and then there's been a game or two in there where I haven't quite played my best. So I think if I can work on bringing my A-game, game in and game out, that would be ideal."
It is no secret that the Kings had a tough start to the season, but they made some changes behind the bench and have since gotten back to their winning ways. Harten said it has been a really positive shift in the team's mentality and drive to play the way they know they can.
"I think the first time I felt that energy shift was when our new coach Doug Raycroft was announced, you could tell the boys were excited, and once we got that first win we were like, 'yeah, we can do this.' With Doug, we've played four games and we have three wins, so I think the confidence is definitely building. There's a lot more buzz in the room, and everyone is a lot happier and excited and not being so hard on ourselves."
Being a goaltender isn't for everyone and it is something that as a player you have to commit to 100%. For Harten it was never a question as to whether he would play in net or out.
"When I was little, my brother was a goalie so growing up I was always watching him and I was always a big fan of Miikka Kiprusoff. So I started being a goalie in my novice second year, so I was about 6 or 7, I started really young. I was always just naturally drawn to the position, I can't remember ever not wanting to be a goalie, so it was an easy decision for me."
He continued to say that for younger players who are thinking about being a goalie it is a tough but fun position and to just jump in and go with their gut instinct and make it their own. As for advice to younger players who are thinking about going all in at the goalie position he said it takes a lot of dedication and movement is key.
"I think that there's no specific drill to focus on, but being able to move in your crease well and know where you are positionally is probably the most crucial at any age. Being able to get that down when you're young is super important."
As a goalie when preparing for a game Harten explained it is important to connect with his team and also check in with himself.
"I like to start getting ready a few hours before, have a good meal usually pasta of some sort. Then I head to the rink, for the first bit I like to be all buddy-buddy with my teammates and stuff and do a warm-up but after that I usually get pretty serious and do my own thing."
Harten is currently taking a year off and working while playing for the Kings and keeps himself pretty busy. While a lot of his focus is on hockey during the winter he does like to get outside all year long and enjoys other hobbies including fishing.
The Wheatland Kings have their next home game this Saturday (November 19) at 8:00 p.m. where they are hoping to make it four wins in a row as they are set to take on the Airdrie Techmation Thunder.
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