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Deer Lake's Jonathan Park heads to his first Monctonian Challenge with Western Kings

Jonathan Park of Deer Lake takes a drink of water during a break in the action in the 16U male session at the 2018 Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador High Performance Program Camp in Corner Brook in this Aug. 8 file photo.
Jonathan Park of Deer Lake takes a drink of water during a break in the action in the 16U male session at the 2018 Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador High Performance Program Camp in Corner Brook in this Aug. 8 file photo. - Star file photo

Jonathan Park has never been to the Monctonian Challenge Midget Hockey Tournament before, but he’s heard plenty about it over the years.

“It’s very competitive,” he said. “A lot of talented, intense players.”

The 15-year-old son of Deer Lake’s Keith and June has been playing the sport for nine years now.

He enjoys the game and lists how fun it is as his main reason for dedicating himself to it. But he’s a competitive kid too, and leaving it all out on the ice has become like an adrenalin rush for him.

“I like the way it gets my blood pumping,” he said.

A first-year centre with the Western Kings, there will be plenty to get his heart racing this week as tournament action begins Thursday in — you guessed it — Moncton, N.B.

The annual hockey showcase is a well-known stomping ground for scouts and it can be a mental battle, as well as a physical one, for players attempting to win a game while demonstrating enough individual ability to win them over.

Park plans to play the same game that got him there, with one caveat.

“I’d hopefully like to add more aggressiveness,” he said.

As for the team’s outlook, Park says the Kings have been developing well since the beginning of the year, so he feels they can compete with whatever the Monctonian might throw at them.

“We’re going in with high hopes.”

The Kings open their tournament schedule with a game against the Saint John Vitos of New Brunswick on Thursday evening.

From there, they’ll face the Central Ontario Wolves on Friday morning, before battling the Halifax Macs on Saturday afternoon to close out the round robin. Wildcard games and the playoff round follow throughout Saturday and Sunday.

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