By Dave Leaderhouse
Opportunity has knocked for a former Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League most valuable player as Kris Joyce will be spending this week at the Los Angeles Kings’ development camp in southern California.
Joyce, who almost single handily guided the La Ronge Ice Wolves back into the SJHL playoffs two years ago, will be among four netminders auditioning for the Kings with hopes of being invited back to a September rookie camp and possibly the main camp later that month.
The Prince George, B.C., product was outstanding in his final year of junior hockey in 2015-16 when he appeared in 50 games for the Ice Wolves and posted a 2.67 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. That performance propelled La Ronge back into the post-season after a four-year absence and once that hurdle was cleared he helped the Ice Wolves sweep the Yorkton Terriers in the Wild Card round before bowing out to the eventual league champion Melfort Mustangs in the quarter-finals.
Last season, Joyce suited up for 20 games with the University of Windsor where he had a 2.88 GAA and .908 save percentage, but he also got his first taste of professional hockey when he finished the year with the Orlando Solar Bears of the East Coast Hockey League, appearing in a pair of playoff games and allowing three goals in 25 minutes of work.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Joyce will be among 40 other camp invitees and draft picks for the Kings’ camp this week with on-ice sessions going all week. Having just turned 22 earlier this month, it is an opportunity that every player dreams of and Joyce will be looking to make the most of it.