• King ready for return to Rapid City

  • It’s good to be King – Colt King, that is.

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  • It’s good to be King – Colt King, that is.
    The CHL enforcer is hitting his stride with the Missouri Mavericks and he can’t wait to get back to Rapid City this weekend to see some old friends, both on and off the ice.
    After starring for the Rush for two seasons, he played with the Sheffield (England) Steelers last season.
    “It’s going to be good to get back to Rapid City,” said King, who starred for the CHL champion Rush the first year the Mavericks joined the CHL and were 0-9 against King and Co. “I’m really excited about the trip, I’m excited about the way the team is playing and I’m excited about just how good this team can be. When I was in Rapid City, we knew that every night we went out and played that we were going to win.
    “And that’s the feeling I’m beginning to get from this team. Hilly (coach Scott Hillman) has done a great job with all the injuries, player moves (following the end of the NHL lockout) and the guys battling the flu.
    “We’re going to be shorthanded this weekend, but that’s not a problem. It’s just another challenge, and this team always accepts a challenge.”
    When the Mavericks were a first-year franchise back in the 2009-10 season, the mere mention of the name Colt King elicited unusual responses.
    “I hated him,” said a longtime fan, who asked that her name not be used in the story because King is now a fan favorite. “He just beat us up that first season.”
    When asked about King’s presence against the Mavericks that season, Hillman just grins and shakes his head.
    “What were we – 0-9 against them that first year?” Hillman asked. “They intimidated us. But no one is intimidating us this season. There's a reason we brought Colt to Independence. In the past, this team was missing a physical presence out on the ice. That is no longer the case.”
    The Mavericks had one enforcer, Carlyle Lewis, the first two years. But age and injuries took their toll on the man nicknamed “The Grim Sleeper.”
    “We needed someone like Colt, and he was eager to be a part of our team,” Hillman said of the 6-foot-2, 223-pound veteran forward. “He’s a great addition to our team.”
    In a recent overtime shootout win over Denver, King scored the game-winning goal.
    “The pressure is there, because you know that everyone is looking for you to get the winning goal,” said King, as the Mavericks downed the Cutthroats 2-1. “All the attention is on you, and I went out on the ice with a plan.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The game winner set off a celebration that nearly blew the top off the Independence Events Center.
    “What a great place to play,” said King, who has scored goals in three of the last four games and has four points in that span. “I love it here. They really know how to treat their players well.”
    While the Mavericks’ “Colt 45” (his number) doesn’t want to do anything to spoil his tough-guy image, he’s the first player to start signing autographs after a game and the last to leave the Events Center.
    “I don’t have many years left,” said King, 29, one of the Mavericks’ designated veteran players. “You have to enjoy this while you can. If you can bring a smile to someone’s face by signing an autograph or posing for a photo, do it.”
    When he reached his 200th career point in the CHL, King was informed that an elderly fan had missed the game due to illness.
    He grabbed a game puck, signed it, and sent it to one of his new fans.
    “Don’t tell me Colt King is a nice guy,” said former Mavericks goaltender Charlie Effinger, who was in the net for many of those nine losses against the Rush that first season in Independence. “Don’t ruin my image. I always want to think of him as this fire-breathing monster who destroys people.”
    Well, he is – but only when he’s on the ice.

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