A goal for any junior hockey player is to advance to the next level when they run out of eligibility. It's been a goal that several members of the Dauphin Kings have achieved after the season was cut short due to COVID-19.
Dauphin can now tack on another former member of the team that will play at the next level. Avery Smith of Trophy Club, Texas, has committed to play with the Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Cardinals in time for the 2020-2021 campaign.
The team went 6-9-1 in conference play this past season.
"It feels really nice to get a plan together for the next four years of my life," said Smith. "I've been playing hockey for 16 years and now that I can look forward to the future, that's pretty exciting. I’m so grateful to the people that helped me out along the way."
When deciding to play at the Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, Smith says it was an easy decision.
"They offered some courses that I'm really interested in and the coaches are great," continued Smith. "I've been places where I didn't really enjoy the coaching staff, but I'm looking forward to playing under the current coach."
Smith was no doubt a spark plug to Dauphin's success this past season and for the past two years. Known most for his speed, Avery will do anything it takes to help his team win a game. Offensively during his time in Dauphin, Smith scored 26 goals including playoff action and he had 19 assists.
So although his time as a King has come to an end, Smith will never forget his time here in the City of Sunshine.
"I'm going to miss every single thing, I don't think I can narrow it down to one thing," added Smith. "Hanging around the boys was incredible and I really enjoyed the small-town living. I couldn't have asked for anything more over the past two years."
Smith's junior career did end on a win. The season was cancelled after Dauphin beat Portage in double overtime in game three of their series. In his own words, Smith says Dauphin is this year's Centennial Cup hosts after downing the hosts in the final game of the season.
"You'll never end the season any other time with a win unless you've won a championship," concluded Smith. "Winning that game and the celebration is a memory I'll always look back on."
The Cardinals' biggest win last season was a 7-1 thrashing against the 10th ranked Augsburg University.
Another member of the Kings 2019-2020 team has announced he will play at the next level so stay tuned in the coming days to find out who it is and their journey through Dauphin.