Red Deer Rebels forward Ben King returned to the club this week and should be a huge boost to the team when he joins the lineup. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Red Deer Rebels forward Ben King returned to the club this week and should be a huge boost to the team when he joins the lineup. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

King brings back wealth of experience from Anaheim Ducks

Turns out, the Red Deer Rebels had a lot to be thankful for this year.

On Thanksgiving Sunday, the Rebels found out that 20-year-old forward Ben King had been returned to his junior club by the Anaheim Ducks. King, who was drafted by the Ducks in the fourth round, 107th overall this summer, had been assigned to the Ducks AHL affiliate in San Diego last week.

Speaking to media on Tuesday in Red Deer for the first time since returning from his stint with the Ducks during training camp and preseason, he said there were a lot of similarities from his time with the Calgary Flames last year.

“Hockey wise there’s a lot of similarities you know a lot of the same systems and same messages across the board. I think the only difference would be probably the weather there. The beaches and all that stuff which is kind of a nice bonus,” he said adding his time in Anaheim was great.

The message from the Ducks was instead of keeping him in the AHL they wanted him to return to junior for one more year and get lots of ice time. The Ducks and King hope he plays with more pace and add to his game to be on the team next year.

“I wasn’t too mad you know I’m happy to join the team here. [They’re] really strong and exciting with the team and [I’m] excited to get going,” he said.

King added he watched a few of the Rebels games while he was down in the U.S. and it’s exciting to see what they’ve done so far.

“Hopefully we can keep going but it’s an exciting year and an exciting group… I think we all know what we can do and we’re just pushing forward and see what happens,” King said.

“A good start would be to win the division and then moving into the playoffs we want to obviously win a championship and that’s the end goal. We’re all looking forward to that but I think to start just take game by game and kind of see where we’re at the end of the year.”

King turned in a remarkable campaign during the 2021-22 WHL season, with 52 goals and 105 points. His unexpected return gives a clear boost to a Rebels group that has already started the 2022-23 season off with a 5-0 record.

Sutter said even before King’s return, he liked the depth of his forward group and adding King just brings a whole new dynamic. The Vernon, B.C. native has 205 points in 206 career WHL games.

“You look at our forward lines. You’ve got four lines every night you can play against anybody and that was the whole thing this was building. It’s one thing to have depth but it’s a whole different animal when you can have really good depth where you can play everybody,” Sutter said.

“We have our team looking like we wanted it to look now it’s up to them to get after it, it’s up to the coaches to lead the way with them.”

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