Ray King, a former standout junior hockey player, has kept statistics for Toledo's pro hockey teams since 1991. King, who grew up in Toledo and graduated from DeVilbiss High School, keeps track of face-off wins and hits for the Walleye. King, 66, who lives in Sylvania, works for Husky Energy in Lima.
1. What are your early hockey memories?
I started to play around age 9. This was with friends on a flooded backyard. After a winter of falling and a lot of banged up knees I started to skate better. My friends and I went to our first Mercury game the next year and my love for hockey was set.
2. Did you play junior or college hockey?
I was 15 years old and everyone playing junior at that time was 16 or older. That first year was a bit scary. The speed of the game was a bit faster than I thought it would be. I played junior until I was 18. I then played at [Worcester College] in Massachusetts. I found out that hockey was not the same in Massachusetts. The first week I got my nose busted with blood everywhere. My claim to fame in those days was I got to play in the 1960 U.S. Junior Championships.
3. Who was the best player you ever saw at the Sports Arena?
In the early days it had to be Glenn Ramsay. In my book he should have made it to the NHL. On the Goaldiggers it would have to be Dirk Graham. He had the best shot from the left side I have ever seen. On the Storm I have to name three: Alex Hicks, Iain Duncan, and Greg Puhalski. All three were great playmakers.
4. What makes Toledo hockey fans special?
The word I would use to describe Toledo hockey fans is “passion.” Going back to the 'Digger days, I loved the way the fans would react to a bad call. They were always loud and voiced their opinion. Heck, some nights the referees were lucky to get out of town. Storm fans have always been great. They didn't always agree with the coach, but they always stuck with the team.
5. Do you have any superstitions?
I had them as a hockey player. I would take off the left skate first all the time. I'd tape my stick the same way every time. Things like that.
6. What is your nickname?
When I was first introduced to [former Storm coach] Claude Noel he heard my name as raking, not Ray King. So from then on I was called “leaves.” He still calls me that to this day.
7. What's your favorite way to spend time away from the rink?
Spending time with my boy, Scott. That's the way it is supposed to be. We watch a lot of Red Wing hockey on TV and some football and golf. I like to get out and ice skate if I can. I was asked when I would stop skating and I said they'll have to take off my skates to get me in the casket.
8. What is your favorite sports memory?
Playing in my first Detroit Red Wing fantasy camp and scoring a goal in the first period with a neat pass from Darren McCarty.
9. What did you like the most about the Sports Arena?
The short glass. The fans could get their message to the other team. There was also not a bad seat in the house.
10. If you were commissioner of hockey for a day, what would you do?
I'd change the hooking rule so that a referee could call it right. Putting a stick at the side of a player is not hooking in my book. Secondly, I'd stop the hits to the head. Someone is going to be killed if this does not stop.
— Mark Monroe