Rookie forward Brandon McGillivary is this week's Strathmore Motor Products King of the Week! Growing up in Chestermere, McGillivary played for the Chiefs and the Warriors in Strathmore and AA hockey in Chestermere.  

McGillivary says playing with some high-end guys this season has definitely upped his own game as well.

“You're going to have to prove yourself a little bit more, but as the season's going on, I've kind of created a role for myself as that type of guy trying to move up, trying to create a spot for himself.” 

Along with personal growth, this season he said the team has come a long way strengthening their play, noting it has gone up a lot since the start of the season and they have not just grown as a team on the ice but off it as well. With that, there is still work to be done but there has definitely been a highlight for him so far this season.

"It's the environment of having the older guys around that has been great, I've always been on a team growing up where there was never really those older guys to kind of guide you and show you the ropes.  So being a rookie it is really cool seeing the 20 and 21-year-olds putting their best efforts in and showing the rookies the ways a little bit."

As a forward, there is always pressure to perform and to get the goals on the board, with that McGillivary said he is not one to sit back and wait for the puck to come to him.

"I'm the type of guy that likes to go on the corners, that's how I've always been taught growing up playing Wheatland hockey. I was never really taught to kind of hang back, you just gotta go and do it yourself sometimes."

With the Kings set to play the Coaldale Copperheads in Coaldale on Saturday and the Medicine Hat Cubs at home on Sunday McGillivary said this week the coach has one main thing in mind in preparation for not only this weekend but the run-up to the playoffs.

"We've had a little bit of a tough go with our slow starts here, so in practice, our coach is just trying to get some endurance instilled into our bodies and we need to bear down and score a couple of goals.  It's been a little bit of a struggle here lately, so the Coaldale game (last Sunday) was good to see five goals put up on the scoreboard there." 

The Wheatland Kings have a strong fan base and a lot of young fans which McGillivray and the team are very grateful for and for those younger fans who want to keep playing the game they love he has some solid advice.

“You know there's always going to be some pressure on kids growing up and going through the sport, I would say just don't put so much pressure on yourself honestly, just try to have fun with the game and the game will come to you.” 

When he isn't busy with the Kings, McGillivary is working as a sales rep for Big Chief Beef Jerky which has been family owned and operated for the past 50 years, and he is looking ahead to post-secondary school where he hopes to get his degree in marketing and business.  Off the ice and away from the office it is still all about family for McGillivary; he enjoys getting the opportunity to spend time with his family and support his sister who is in grade 11 and on her own sports journey in volleyball. 

The next home game for the Wheatland Kings will be this Sunday when the Medicine Hat Cubs come to town, the puck drops at 4:30. 

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