The Wheatland Kings main camp begins tomorrow (August 26), and Kings General Manager Lee Smith is excited to see how this young, developing team builds off of an exciting season last year.

"We've got some interesting kids coming into camp that didn't play here, but played high levels elsewhere that are coming to camp and want to be with the Kings. The Kings organization is growing and it's becoming quite a positive place for players to end up," he said.

With around half the team returning from last year — many of whom are former rookies — Smith says the young core should return even stronger this season, and when you consider how strong the team looked towards the end of last season that could mean big things for the upcoming year.

"When I go to league meetings and stuff, a lot of teams are quite interested in what the Kings are going to put up this year. There's actually quite a few teams that are kind of concerned about us."

"With our group and all the rookies and stuff that are coming and then we've got some interesting guys that are back in town that played elsewhere that are looking to play for us and that kind of stuff...we're excited about the season for sure."

One of the big reasons the Kings are getting noticed by both players and front offices is its stellar staff. Spearheaded by Smith, Head Coach Doug Raycroft, and Player Personnel Director Steve Stovka, Smith believes the Kings organization has strong leadership, especially with Raycroft, who's already proven he's an exceptional coach in just half a season last year.

"We've probably got one of the better coaches in the league for sure for teaching and that kind of stuff and that attracts the young guys, right? Doug has been involved in minor hockey for so long and done a lot of teaching and he's just a really good coach and that makes a big difference." 

Smith added the Kings are always open to sponsor opportunities, and if you are interested you can contact the team and Smith on its website HERE.

The first exhibition game of the season is on September 9, when the Kings host the Medicine Hat Cubs.

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, StrathmoreNow encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the StrathmoreNow app.