For 16 years, it was a dream. Growing up in Dauphin, Carter Zalischuk grew up playing in the Dauphin Minor Hockey Association and he always envisioned what life would be like if he were a Dauphin King.
Now 17 years old, it isn’t a dream anymore for Carter, it’s a reality. The hometown favourite is in his first season with Dauphin as he’s played in 30 games, scoring three times and recording four assists. Carter made his debut with his hometown junior team back on Friday, September 16, in front of more than 1400 fans and the Kings ended up winning the game in overtime.
“It’s been awesome, it’s nice to be at home, and it’s a great feeling to represent Dauphin,” said Zalischuk. “Every day is a good day, being a King really means the world to me, I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
While making his debut with the team on opening night is one game that Carter will never forget, he will also never forget Ukrainian Night. Dauphin won the game 5-2 and more than 2000 fans packed inside Credit Union Place.
“It’s hard to explain the emotion I was feeling that night, I had a lot of fun playing in that game,” said Zalischuk. “The atmosphere in the rink helped push us, it really was amazing.”
Known as a player that goes hard into each battle and comes out with the puck more often than not, Carter has looked impressive when he has been in the lineup this season. Being a rookie, the Dauphinite knows there will be games moving forward that he isn’t in the lineup, but he’s looking forward to proving himself. Carter believes it’s a great honour to represent his hometown and he will also get the chance to represent the province once again later this year.
After a fifth-place finish with the team last year in Nova Scotia, Carter will once again play with the Manitoba men’s team at this year’s National Aboriginal Hockey Championships which are slated for May 7 to 13 at Seven Oaks Arena in Winnipeg. Carter will be joined by Ben Roulette of the Waywayseecappo Wolverines, a player that Zalischuk grew up playing against.
“It means a lot to me to make the team once again,” offered Zalischuk. “I had a blast last year, it was just unfortunate that we didn’t win that gold medal. We had the ability last year and I definitely believe we have the ability this year to get the job done, it’s going to be another great experience.”
The Kings are back on the ice Friday when they welcome the Winnipeg Freeze to town and then they host the OCN Blizzard on Saturday. Dauphin is currently tied for first in the West Division with the Wolverines, but they’re only two points clear of a playoff spot.
“We definitely can’t take either of those games lightly, Winnipeg beat Neepawa a couple of weeks back so we know they can compete,” said Zalischuk. “When it comes to OCN, we know that we can beat them, we just have to play our game and work hard.”
You can listen to Carter’s full chat with Darnell Duff during the team’s power play show after the 4:00 p.m. news, weather, business, and sports on Friday.