Back to the big league: N.L.'s Jason King takes coaching job with Vancouver Canucks
King returns to where his pro hockey career started in 2001
Corner Brook's Jason King is heading back to the National Hockey League, but this time he's behind the bench as an assistant coach for the Vancouver Canucks.
It's the hockey club where it all began for King in 2001.
"It's always a dream to be able to make it as a player to the NHL, but now to be able to come full circle, with a coaching position at the NHL level with an organization that's exactly where my pro career started, it's very exciting," King said in an interview with CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning.
He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2001 NHL entry draft by then general manager Brian Burke to a Canucks team that included fellow Newfoundlander Harold Druken, who split time between the big leagues and the minors.
King spent four seasons with the Canucks before taking his talents overseas to the Swedish Elite League for a year. He would later return to North America for a short stint with the Anaheim Ducks and the minor league Portland Pirates before leaving for Europe once more, this time to Germany.
His playing career came full circle, ending back in Newfoundland, where King spent two seasons on home turf as part of the defunct St. John's IceCaps in the American Hockey League.
Experiences and opportunities
Working his way through the minor league system isn't new to King. He did it in his playing career and once again when he turned to coaching.
For the last four seasons, King was an assistant coach for the Utica Comets, Vancouver's minor league affiliate in the AHL. Before that, he spent two years as an assistant coach with the IceCaps.
"There's not that many positions, and a lot of people looking for those positions, but you need to know your stuff. You need to pay your dues," King said.
"In a coaching capacity you always have to learn, you always need to adapt, and I think where I'm at, I try to keep an open mind as much as I possibly can to try and accept and absorb as much knowledge as I possibly can."
Getting through to today's top pros isn't something he's worried about. King said he looks at his winding career, which spanned the globe, as opportunities and experiences in his back pocket.
"I also learned so much more in those other leagues, and a lot of that being a good part of my career at the AHL level and I think that's a great level to develop from all aspects," he said.
"I learned so much from the coaching side from some great people along the way, and it's gotten me to where I am right now."
King will join former NHLer and Canuck alumnus Chris Higgins as part of head coach Travis Green's staff for the upcoming season, set to get underway Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers.
With files from Newfoundland Morning