The Wheatland Kings have been struggling this season and are looking to get a win this weekend to snap the 9 game losing streak they have found themselves in during the month of October. 

Kings GM Lee Smith explained this week the team made some changes behind the bench with the goal of getting this season back on track.
“We've parted ways with our head coach Ron West, we came to a mutual agreement that it was time for a change and now we have Doug Raycroft in as head coach and we've also brought on Bruce Clayton as an assistant coach."

Along with Raycroft and Clayton, the coaching staff also includes Randy Hanas and Derek Riley.  In addition to the coaching change, Smith said a lot of it comes down to the team and on-ice discipline, as that has been one of their biggest challenges this season. “We have to play more as a team and with more enthusiasm and we have to stay out of the penalty box.”

This weekend the Kings have 2 games at home, on Saturday night they will face undefeated Okotoks Carstar Bisons for a third time this season and will play the Coaldale Copperheads on Sunday who are currently sitting tied with the Kings for last place in the division. 

“Okotoks is a very good club, and they're deep all the way through, they've got 4 full lines and we just got to play them a little different than other teams, not that we don’t plan on bringing our A game against both teams.” 

At the start of this season, the expectation of this team was to make the playoffs. Smith said that has not changed, as there are still a lot of games left for the team to do just that.  This year’s Kings team may be younger than others in the league but Smith says the veterans on the team have to lead by example on and off the ice, and the team needs to work on their on-ice discipline, and that the team is a solid unit. 

“The chemistry in the room is really good, a lot of these guys have played together when they were young, and the new guys that we're bringing in seem to gel in with those older guys.  I think with Doug's leadership it'll probably turn itself around and go from there.”

Smith explained having a team with a much younger roster can cause growing pains in the beginning but there is a plan for the future of the team.

“That is our goal with this nucleus of young guys that we've got, we want to keep them together and next year and the year after, we could be could be a real tough team to play.”

The team still has a lot of work to do to get back in the win column but a shake-up in the coaching staff and a resetting of expectations with the players is what Smith and the team believe can help them do that.  

The Kings will play the Okotoks Carstar Bisons this Saturday night at 8:00 pm and on Sunday will take on the Coaldale Copperheads at 4:30 pm.  

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