Kings rebirth couldn't have come at a better time for Mulder
One thing Blair Mulder knew that when he finished his junior hockey career he would be looking at continuing his education.
What he didn’t know was where.
As it turned out the rebirth of the RDC Kings couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I talked with two or three Div III schools, but didn’t really want to go to the States. I also talked with SAIT, NAIT and Augustana, but everything worked out perfectly when Red Deer got back into the league. It’s close to home (in Lacombe) and I can drive back and forth. I wanted to get my education and it’s a bonus to be playing here.”
The five-foot-10, 180-pound defenceman enjoys playing in Red Deer. He played hockey with the Optimist midget AAA Chiefs in 2009-10 as well as with the midget AAA baseball Braves.
“To be honest I wasn’t sure I would be playing (hockey) after midget baseball and hockey,” he said. “But it all worked out.”
Mulder joined to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for the 2010-11 season, but his career there lasted only eight games, before being traded to the Sherwood Park Crusaders. He played close to three full seasons with the Crusaders.
Overall he played 159 games in the AJHL, scoring 13 goals and adding 30 assists.
“He’s a gritty defensive-defenceman, who has a good point shot and competes hard,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper, who scouted Mulder “several times” last winter.
Mulder enjoyed his time in the AJHL.
“It was a good experience in Fort McMurray, although it didn’t last long before I was shipped to Sherwood Park. We didn’t have any championship runs there, but everything was good.”
And Mulder feels he couldn’t have picked a better team to join this year.
“Everyone is new and we’re looking at making a good run in the league . . . everyone is expecting that. Personally we’ve underachieved offensively a bit, and we can tightened up defensively, but we’ll only get better.”
Mulder has been playing alongside Kirsten Odendaal most of the preseason. The two know each other, having teamed up with the midget Chiefs.
“I’m not sure Keeper put us together because of that, or it was just luck, but I enjoy playing with him and I think he enjoys being with me. We do seem to have chemistry.”
The two likely won’t be together when the Kings open their Alberta Colleges Men’s Hockey League regular season tonight in Camrose against the University of Alberta, Augustana Vikings. Odendaal was the victim of a knee-on-knee hit in the SAIT tournament and likely won’t play tonight, He does hope to be back Friday for the Kings home opener against the Vikings at 7:15 p.m. at the Penhold Regional Multiplex.
“Hopefully he won’t be out long. We were running five D men in some of the games and it’s tough.”
Keeper knows it won’t be easy this week after tying Camrose 3-3 in exhibition play.
“We know it will be a tough physical battle, so we have to use our speed and scoring ability,” he said. “We’ve also been working hard on tightening up our defensive zone to keep the shots down.”
Keeper didn’t say if Mike Salmon or Kraymer Barnstable will start in goal.
l The soccer teams will be busy this weekend as they entertain Medicine Hat Saturday and Lethbridge Sunday. The women kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday with the men to follow.
l The RDC golf team, led by Kyle Morrison, will compete in the ACAC championships in Olds Saturday and Sunday.
l Both volleyball teams are on the road. The Kings are at The Kings University College tournament in Edmonton while the Queens compete at the Battle of the Rockies at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook.
The Kings meet Lakeland College at 11 a.m. and Keyano College at 4 p.m. Friday and the University of Saskatchewan at 11 a.m. and Grant MacEwan University at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Queens face the College of the Rockies, MacEwan University, the University of Calgary, Ambrose University College of Calgary, Lethbridge College and Medicine Hat College in the round-robin Friday and Saturday. The playoffs go Sunday.
l The hockey Queens meet the Edge Hockey Academy Saturday in Calgary.
l Cross-country’s Devin Woodland and soccer’s Kayla Blacquiere shared the Boston Pizza RDC athlete of the week honors.
Woodland finished seventh overall and third among college runners at the SAIT Grand Prix.
Blacquiere scored twice in the Queens 3-0 win over Lakeland College.
The Queens soccer team received the Breathing Room team of the week award.