Taking Liberties With… Albuquerque native, Team New Mexico product Cory King
2020-21 Team: Chatham University (NCAA D-III)
2021-22 Team: HC Giants (Finland)
New Mexico Youth Teams: Team New Mexico
ARIZONA RUBBER: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up?
CORY KING: Probably my favorite hockey memory growing up had to be the endless hockey trips with teammates and family. Growing up in New Mexico, we could only play in tournaments out of state because we didn’t have other teams to play. So it had to be the planning of what movies we were going to watch on the road trip up to the noise complaints our parents would get in the halls of the hotels from us yelling at floor hockey. I think hockey has so many great memories on the ice but a lot of them that stick with you are the ones you miss as a kid.
AZR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving New Mexico?
CK: The experience and people I got to meet wherever I went. Hockey is a sport where no matter where you go, you’re accepted as family. You get to meet so many new people that now are considered “family” whether that being billet families or the kids you meet on your AAA, junior or college teams that become like brothers to you. I believe the camaraderie that you go through winning a state championship, a junior championship or making the playoffs for the first time in school history are things that I will cherish forever.
AZR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, both on and off the ice?
CK: The biggest influence has always been my family. They have given me the opportunity and sacrificed to be given me the opportunity to chase my dreams. My parents are my No. 1 supporters and have always pushed me to be the best person and athlete I could possibly be and will forever be grateful for them.
AZR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players?
CK: The biggest piece of advice for all young hockey players is to make sure you’re having fun and to ask a lot of questions. All young athletes have different aspirations growing up and I think especially for kids in New Mexico, make sure if hockey is something you truly want to pursue then to talk with your parents once you start getting older and decide if you’re getting the right development. New Mexico is growing in hockey and with the addition of the NAHL team and the excellent coaching staff that they brought in for their youth programs, I think you just need to ask a lot of questions when you’re young and work with your coaches to be the best player you can become and to, most importantly, have fun and be happy with what you’re doing.
AZR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
CK: Other than hockey, I grew up playing basketball and football and I enjoyed both sports, football a little bit more for the physical aspect of the game but in the past six years, I really started to pick up golf and I love the mental aspect of the game. I have a lot of respect for these guys that play on the PGA Tour with ability to play such a mental game with thousands of spectators and not to lose their cool. I know when I play and we have a group behind them, I constantly tell myself, “Don’t shank this shot, Cory, it’s going to look bad,” so if I had to say, I love playing golf when I can get out there.
AZR: Do you have any superstitions?
CK: So what’s funny is that a lot of my teammates can say this but I had a shirt that I wore ever since I was a Pee Wee for games and this past year, that shirt had gone through the ringer, holes all over. I mean, it was barely hanging on and eventually, I had to get rid of it after so many years after going on a pointless streak in the beginning couple games of my senior season. Once I got rid of it, the points started coming and that was the end of the superstition. Maybe a new shirt begins but as of now, no other superstitions.
AZR: What does your game-day routine look like?
CK: Usually, I wake up and have a good breakfast while I watch some film on the team we play and go over some stuff that we’re looking to expose in their game and then really just relax after and make sure I’m hydrated and ready to go before game time. Always have to get the rink early and make sure everything is good with my gear and check off any mental distractions that could lead up to the first shift. Then, really, I just sit there and think about what I do well in my game and try to capitalize.
AZR: Do you have a favorite meal or restaurant you remember from back home growing up in New Mexico?
CK: I don’t have a favorite meal or restaurant in New Mexico, but I love Mexican food and coming home to New Mexico and having authentic Mexican food is, to me, the best food on Earth.
AZR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip?
CK: Essential items I need to take on a road trip is my own pillow, headphones, and just drinks and snacks. Nothing too crazy.
AZR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? Who and why?
CK: My favorite hockey player when I was super young was Alex Tanguay. I don’t know why, but I really liked his game. Then Alex Ovechkin entered the league and I admired to play like him with his physically and the ability to score at a high rate. Mostly, I loved how passionate he is with the game, the willingness to do whatever to win while being more excited for a teammate to score than himself.
AZR: Expectations for next season?
CK: My expectations for next season are to prove myself and show that from being from New Mexico isn’t something to look down on. I want to prove that I belong in good leagues and that I have the ability to play at a high level. Mostly I want to prove to myself that the hours of dedication and hard work paid off while still developing to become the best player I can be.
Top photo/Chatham Athletics
— Compiled by Matt Mackinder
(June 24, 2021)