dave king feature

5 Questions with Dave King

The legendary coach talks about the evolution of international hockey, returning to the Olympics, and the connection between Canadians and their game

Jason La Rose
February 23, 2018

Few coaches in international hockey have a résumé quite like Dave King, who is back behind the bench with Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team for the fourth time, 34 years after his first appearance in Sarajevo.

King, a member of the Order of Canada (1992), Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (1997), IIHF Hall of Fame (2001) and Order of Hockey in Canada (2013), was head coach of Team Canada in 1984, 1988 and 1992.

Ahead of the bronze medal game against the Czech Republic (7:10 a.m./4:10 a.m. PT) on Saturday, sat down with the 71-year-old legend to get his thoughts on international hockey, the Olympics and his decorated career.

Q: In the 34 years between your first Olympics and today, what is the biggest change to the international game?

DK: It’s interesting to watch the game; it’s changed quite a bit. In my first Olympics, 1984, when you came over [to Europe] it was distinctly different, the [way the] Europeans played. Now, the game has moved, both sides have moved more to the middle. So it’s kind of a hybrid game, where we’ve taken a lot of their good ideas and they’ve also taken some of our good ideas, so the exchange has been good. The game is really a terrific game, it’s high-pace and it’s more physical than it was. And I think it’s really attractive hockey.

Q: As the game has evolved, how have you evolved as a coach?

DK: I think every coach, your number one hope is you can get better every year and improve what you’re doing, and learn more. I think that’s what every coach should do, is try to use every event, every game to try to improve your skills. So I think if I look back at ‘84 and compare myself to now, I’m 30 or 40 years older, but also I think [I have] a little bit more knowledge, too.

Q: Why was it important to you to be part of this staff and this Olympic journey?

DK: It’s just a real honour; anytime you can represent your country, that’s something very special. It’s a very good staff and I think it was just a chance once again for me to learn some things from these younger coaches, and also try to be there for them if they need any advice on the game and other aspects. It’s been a really good thing. Again, these kinds of events are really quite an honour to be involved in. [To be part of] your Olympic program, that’s amazing stuff.

Q: What is your favourite Olympic moment that you’ve been a part of?

DK: My favourite Olympic moment probably is 1992 when we won the silver medal. We lost to the Russians in the gold medal game, which is disappointing, but it was certainly a nice event. We won the silver, and it was a group of guys that still to this day hang together, and are on email together all the time. So it really was a close team, and a great team to be part of.

Q: Having been around the world and seen the game in so many countries, how can you describe the connection between Canadians and hockey?

DK: It’s an amazing connection. Hockey is our game, we are the ones who seem to start playing it with the most vigour, and so when you look at Canadians and our culture, hockey is a big part of it. I think all of us, even if we’re not big-time hockey fans, when the Olympics are on we watch the hockey. I think it’s a terrific game for Canada, I think it gives us an identity internationally. If you talk to anybody and say you’re from Canada, they always ask you, ‘So do you play hockey, or did you play hockey?’ It’s a really big part of life over in Canada, and we should be proud of it, because we’ve had a lot of success.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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