The University of Saskatchewan honoured one of its legends Monday morning.
Former Huskies men’s hockey coach Dave King got an honourary doctorate of law during a convocation ceremony at TCU Place.
King addressed the new crop of graduates after receiving his degree, and he chose to focus his speech on “practical advice.”
“I just reflected back to my days as a hockey coach here, because I learned all those lessons about perseverance, being relentless, from my days coaching the Huskies,” he said.
King coached the U of S men’s hockey team for four seasons from 1979 to 1983, while also serving as the bench boss for Canada’s entries at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
He went on to coach the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes at the NHL level, while also standing behind the bench for European teams.
King served as a coach for Team Canada at eight world championships, two Deutschland Cups, two Spengler Cups and four Winter Olympics — including the 2018 entry in South Korea.
King said he was impressed by the talent level of Team Canada’s non-NHL players at the Pyeongchang games.
“We had a group of players a little like Vegas in the NHL, with something to prove,” he said.
“When people have a focus like that, they can do great things.”
He said the players showed “character” by rebounding from a tough semi-final loss against Germany to defeat the Czech Republic for bronze.
King said he planned to spend part of his visit to Saskatoon taking a tour of Merlis Belsher Place, the new home of Huskie hockey which he helped raise money for.
He was also set to take to the ice at Rutherford Rink, where he spent years as a player and coach.
“It will be my last time on the ice there,” he said.
“I’ve even got the skates I used to wear when I coached the Huskies to wear.”
Even though Rutherford holds a lot of memories for him, King said he looks forward to seeing Merlis Belsher Place open.