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‘This is what we play for’ Neal on tight West Division race

Aaron Neal started his junior career by playing 71 games with the Powell River Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League. His tenure with them included a five-goal campaign in the 2021-22 season, one in which he also added four assists.

Then in 13 games this year, Aaron scored once while adding one assist before he was acquired by the Dauphin Kings in late November. A 6’2″ forward from North Vancouver, Neal has enjoyed his time in Dauphin and he is even now used to the extreme cold weather that Manitobans know all about.

“It’s been good so far, a bit of a change of scenery,” said Neal. “I’ve enjoyed it, Dauphin is a nice little community and I’m enjoying playing with the Kings.”

While it took Aaron a few more games than perhaps he would have liked to score his first goal with his new team, he didn’t have to wait long once the calendar turned to 2023 as he scored in the team’s first game after the break against the Winnipeg Blues. It was a game that Dauphin came up short in, but Neal is happy that he got the monkey off his back.

“It felt good, I do expect more from myself down the stretch here,” said Neal. “It’s not all about scoring and I try not to focus on that part too much, I just need to do what I have to do to help the team win games.”

Dauphin is preparing for an important weekend home-and-home with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. Dauphin enters the weekend just four points back of Waywayseecappo for first place in the West Division. The Neepawa Titans are also just one point back of Dauphin for the final spot so every game the rest of the way is very important, not only to make the playoffs but to try and get home-ice advantage in the first round.

“This is what hockey is all about,” said Neal. “There is a lot of competitiveness and it’s a challenge every time we hit the ice. This is why we play the game, for a chance to compete and win games.”

Neal has also added four assists this season with Dauphin for five points so far.

Get to know Neal:

Who is your favourite hockey player? Alex Burrows

What is your favourite hockey moment? Probably winning the championship in Tier 3 in U15 hockey, I made some great memories with guys that I still have a connection with and likely will for the rest of my life

What other talents do you have? I think I’m a pretty good analyzer and heads-up person. I believe I can read a room pretty well and connect with people

Do you have any favourite TV shows? Family Guy, that’s always one I love

If you could sit down with anyone, who would it be and why? I would probably say, Kobe Bryant. I would have loved to learn about his mentality, he was known for his great mentality and I would have loved to get his thoughts on what it takes to succeed

You can hear Aaron’s full chat with Darnell Duff during the team’s power-play show on Friday afternoon following the 4 p.m. news, weather, business, and sports.