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Kings, Hedley agree to a two-year extension


The Dauphin Kings have extended the contract of head coach and general manager Doug Hedley for another two years through the 2022-23 season.
When Hedley joined the Kings in 2018, he had a plan to build the Kings into a contender.
“When you’re in the third year of your contract, the plan is to do something in your third year that’s very special and I think we have the group to do that,” he said.
The goal, he said, is to build a hockey club that remains competitive with an opportunity for a long run in the playoffs.
“That’s kind of the goal behind the Dauphin Kings and to develop as many players as we can,” he said.
“Anytime you get a couple of extra years to do what you want to try and get done is a good thing. And I’m very grateful to the board of directors.”
The draft the last couple of years has been good, Hedley said, adding the team has some good players coming up through the system.
“That was the goal at the start of this. When you have to reload or remain competitive, the push has to come from underneath,” he said, adding the Kings will announce some players signings in the next week or so for next season.
“We want to be a destination that players want to get to, an organization they want to play in. We want to commit to those guys, but we want good players that come in with a hard work ethic, commit to our crest and just remain competitive every year,” he said.
As for when the Manitoba Junior Hockey League returns to the ice, Hedley said it will depend on public health officials and the provincial government.
“We’re at a point now where we want to bring our guys back in. Our guys have been told to self-isolate for two weeks prior for the lockdown lift, maybe on Jan. 22. If that’s the case we’ll try and get on the ice as soon as we can. If it’s another two weeks, then we’ll have to plan accordingly,” he said.
“But we’re hoping red becomes orange next Friday. I think there will be some easing of restrictions. I think some businesses will be allowed to open, but you just don’t know if it’s going to be recreational services yet.”
While it is frustrating not to be playing, the National Hockey League starting a new season last week does not add to the frustration, at least not for Hedley.
“It’s not frustrating for me, I like watching hockey. But sometimes you wonder about the mixed message they’ve been sending out since this thing started,” he said.
“At the same time, the NHL has all kinds of money for testing to create a bubble that is a lot different than the one we can afford to do. I think the key is they have the money to do the testing every day and they have those tests available. Their bubble is totally different than what ours would be.”
The MJHL, Hedley said, does not want to try and start again only to be shutdown again.
“If we have to wait a little bit longer, if the wait we have is too long to get a season in, then I would rather know, black and white, what’s happening rather than this two-week hope. They keep sending out this grey messaging,” he said.
“No one really knows and you can’t win a championship on hope. And you can’t win many games on hope. We’d like to know one way or the other and make plans accordingly.”

Doug Zywina