2021 news dave king

Loose Pucks and Ice Bags

A legend in the coaching world, Dave King has pulled together notes from close to five decades in the game for a new book geared towards coaches, players and parents

Chris Jurewicz
November 17, 2021

There aren’t many people in the game of hockey who have seen, experienced, and accomplished more than Dave King.

For 45 years, starting with his first coaching job with the University of Saskatchewan in 1972 and concluding with being assistant bench boss for Canada’s men’s team at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, King coached and taught the sport at various levels, from the aforementioned university level to the professional ranks, including the National Hockey League and pro leagues in Germany, Russia and Sweden.

Along the way, the North Battleford, Saskatchewan-born King kept copious notes of what he witnessed, taught and learned to one day put it all together and release a book. Earlier this year, that day came as King released Loose Pucks and Ice Bags: How and Why the Game is Changing.

“Over the years, doing so many coaching clinics and conferences and stuff, a lot of times coaches would come up and ask different questions so I started to realize doing a coaching clinic is good – you get to answer some of the questions. But you can’t remember the whole, complete game,” King says from his winter home in Phoenix. “I’ve always kept pretty meticulous notes on certain aspects of the game and, when you coach as long as I have and in as many different countries as I have, you start to get a big broad picture of why certain countries play the game differently than we do. I have always tried to keep track of my observations of the game knowing that, at some point in time, I was going to do this book when I retired. I tried to collect a lot of good things that I thought were appropriate for coaches, parents and players, put it into a book and try to help people understand the game more and, hopefully, have more fun coaching it and doing it.”

King, a Distinguished Honouree of the Order of Hockey in Canada who coached Canada’s men’s team at three Olympic Games (1984, 1988 and 1992), believes his new book is targeted to three audiences – hockey coaches, players and parents.

Coaches will benefit by King’s experience in his travels all over the world, and what he’s picked up on from the teams he’s coached but also from some other well-known coaches in the game like Herb Brooks and Clare Drake.

Players can read the book and likely find some tactics their own coaches may be trying to teach them. Sometimes, having a second voice, especially one with the experience King has, could help that player better understand a specific tactic or part of the game they are trying to improve upon.

Finally, King says parents will find good use in the book, as they’ll develop a better sense of what their child is going through as they practice and play the great sport of hockey.

“For the parent, it’s important that parents watch their kids play. I think that’s really important,” says King. “But I do believe that, often, parents forget how difficult the game is to play. The game gets faster, the players get bigger and stronger, all those issues. They would understand how challenging it is to be a hockey player. Parents have to be supportive, patient hopefully, and this book might give parents some insight where they become a little more patient with their child and say ‘Hey, it’s hard enough to play. I’m going to be more supportive than I am critical.’”

The title of the book comes from King’s childhood and is a slogan he’s used for many of his teams. King says that, as a kid, he learned from coaches about the importance of getting to the loose pucks on the ice. As he describes it, when you’re in possession of the puck, you’re generally in control of the game. As for ice bags, that’s a reference to the importance of effort.

“You have to make sure you’re always working hard and giving a good effort,” says King. “If you do that, you’re going to be engaged in the game. If you’re engaged in the game, you do get some bumps and bruises so you do need some ice bags after the game.”

Readers will also learn of many of the changes in the game that have taken place to get us to where we are today, including the NHL recognizing the NHL Players’ Association in the late 1960s to the popularity of NHL clubs hiring college coaches in the 1980s to the major rules changes in 1999-2000 when the NHL wanted more offence in the game.

Loose Pucks and Ice Bags: How and Why the Game is Changing is available in bookstores and on All proceeds from sales will be donated to Hockey Canada to aid in the development of the next generation of players.


“Kinger is one of the greatest hockey minds of all time. He has coached at every level in numerous countries. His experiences provide him with an unbelievable education that he has shared with coaches and players, to improve the way the game is coached and played.” -- Mike Babcock

“To this day, I have not met a smarter hockey coach or better mentor for coaches worldwide.” -- Dave Tippett

“An insightful look into the game’s evolution from one of hockey’s most progressive minds.” -- Barry Trotz

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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